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Council Tax Shocker

Click here to view user informationVaughan   Mar 12th 2016 12:40

Anybody received their 2016/17 council tax bill? If you have you'll have noticed that the cost has gone up by an inflation busting 4.4%. Including an eye watering 21.9% increase in the Charfield Parish Council charge - what's all that about? The basic council tax has gone up by 2.1% - again more than inflation and on a technicality seems to be higher than allowed without a local referendum (2% is the limit for that). In past years the council included a full explanation of the increases - this year nothing, not even on the website. Good example of how arrogant and cavalier these people are with our money. This is not democracy

Click here to view user informationvaughan   Mar 12th 2016 17:44

Charfield Parish Council also increased by 21.6% last year so that's almost 50% in 2 years! Would like to know where all that extra money is going.

"Chair of Charfield PC" : Click for more detailsMark_Rosher   Apr 15th 2016 15:47

Had to go away and come back to this. The annual budget meeting in January is minuted and published and gives all the details of where the precept is spent. [external link]

Click here to view user informationVaughan   May 13th 2016 13:26

Thanks for the link. I note there is £2,500 earmarked for communications. Perhaps that could be used to generate a mailing list where some of this information could be disseminated on a more regular basis (including notices of meetings, vacancies etc) ? Finding out that budgets have been increased months after the decisions have been taken is less than ideal. I appreciate that people can attend meetings in person but I think you should try and make it as easy as possible (I note that not single member of the public attended the budget meeting) . It might also be used as a low cost way to get a better sense of what people see as a priority in Charfield?

"Chair of Charfield PC" : Click for more detailsMark_Rosher   May 13th 2016 22:27

I think the important part of your comment, Vaughan, is that no member of the public attended the budget meeting. That meeting, like all our meetings, was open to the public (all are, except in very exceptional circumstances). That meeting, like all our meetings, had an agenda published online before the date of the meeting, and had minutes published online soon after the meeting. It's a curious dichotomy that you are alleging we are cavalier with spending the precept at the same time as asking for more of it to be spent on something we currently do at no additional cost.

In order to make best use of this forum, I'd like to invite you to attend the next parish council meeting, on Tuesday 17th May at 7.30 pm in the Memorial Hall. There is a time set aside at each meeting for public participation, and you can clarify how we could improve our communications (Out of interest, do you know how much it costs to put a vacancy notice in the Gazette?)

Click here to view user informationvaughan   May 14th 2016 22:18

Thanks for the invitation Mark. I will try and see if I can attend. I would like to say that I am not alleging you have been cavalier just that the increases did not have any prior visibility or consultation which I think is unacceptable given how large they were in each of the last 2 years. I assumed the £2,500 communication budget was money that you were planning to spend anyway otherwise why is it in the budget? , my point being that a mailing list might be a more cost effective way to communicate and engage with a wider audience. I doubt whether many people have Charfield Parish Council website on their daily must look at list so most of this will have passed them by - they find out of course when the bills land on their doormats. I'm afraid I do not know how much it costs to advertise a vacancy in the Gazette.

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