Friday, 28th November 2014

Council defends 5pc tax increase

Wem Town Council has  defended its move to raise this year’s council tax by five per cent, blaming rising energy costs and increased responsibilities for the rise.

Councillors set a budget for 2012/13 of £241,502 from local taxpayers – a move which they say will contribute to improving the quality of life in the town.

Members say they have had to repeat last year’s exercise when they struggled to rein in spending and still had to increase the budget.

They say money was needed to meet the council’s increased responsibilities in taking over the public toilets in the town centre car park. They also reduced spending in some areas by 10 per cent.

This year councillors said they took into account opinions from a questionnaire circulated to all residents.

The council said the increase amounts to 11p per week on a Band D property, while the overall cost of services to the Band D taxpayer is £2.30 per week.

Councillor Edward Towers, the town mayor, said: “Whilst this had been a challenging process during this time of national economic difficulty, townspeople can take satisfaction in the budget agreed.

“The council doesn’t want to take any more than is absolutely necessary from hard pressed taxpayers.”