Skegness Town Council approves 9p a week tax hike

A 9p a week rise faces Skegness residents after the town council set its Budget for 2022/23.

Tower Gardens Pavilion, Skegness.
Tower Gardens Pavilion, Skegness.

Over the coming weeks, the amounts residents will have to pay will be announced by all of the local authorities serving the area and Lincolnshire Police - and with rises across the board expected, the decision has involved 'long hours' of debate.

In Skegness Town Council' s portion of the overall council tax bill, a band D rate payer will pay £101 per annum - an increase of £4.64 or 4.82% over the previous year.

Councillors were given two options when they met on Wednesday night to approve the Budget.

Town clerk Steve Larner told the meeting that since the final draft Budget was proposed, pressures on the Christmas illumination budget had been identified due to the need to replace infrastructure. This represented an additional £6,000 not accounted for in the budget.

Another concern was the level of inflation.

"The CPI rate has risen much faster than expected to 5.1% in November and is expected to rise further in 2022," Mr Larner said.

"RPI which excludes housing and therefore may be closer to what the Council will experience, has risen to 7.1% in November and also looks set to climb further in 2022."

An additional concern is DEFRA's proposals changes to the cemetery regulations, which could see the council-run St Mary's Cemetery close and a loss of revenue. "It is estimated that the impact could be £11,000 in 2022/23 and £23,500 the following year," said Mr Larner.

Other issues raised during the past year's council meetings were considered during the Budget debates.

There had been a controversial call for the Mayor's Allowance, now £2,400, to be doubled, which had been opposed by the council's Conservative councillors.

A committee had, however, agreed to an increase of £3,000 per annum from 1st April.

However, an extra £10,000 in the Budget for a Christmas Wonderland event did not make it into the final Budget.

Of the two options put forward, the first with £582.578 to be funded in the precept came with £46,000 of risk, said Mr Larner. This took into account elections costs, capital reserve provision, car park income, Christmas illuminations, inflation and the DEFRA outcome.

"If Council were to opt for a lower level of risk, perhaps assuming that half the value of risk would occur, then this would see a precept rise this year of around 9.03%," explained Mr Larner. "Option B which removed the risk factors would have been more costly to the ratepayer,"

In debating the options, Coun Steve Kirk said he could not support a 10% rise when residents faced other price increases.

"There is £440,000 sat in reserves should the council need to use it," he pointed out. "The Town Clerk has done his job. There is a risk but that is all it is. We have to think of the residents who are already facing hefty bills."