Council defend 25% - 36p per week - tax rise

Horncastle Town Council has explained its 25 per cent rise in its precept tax for the 2022/23 tax year, which will work out to an extra 36p per week.

The Precept is a tax that a town or parish council charge their local electors to meet their budget requirements, and is part of the council tax paid by local tax payers - which forms the majority of the income that the town council receives to fulfil its duties.

The town council has agreed to set the precept for the coming year at £220,875, which works out at 25.83 percent rise - or a 36.5 pence per week - for a Band D property to the amount paid from your council tax which goes to the town council.

The town council’s overall budget for 2022/23 will be £258,492.56.

A spokesman for the town council said that the rise was necessary: “The council has made savings where possible and has reduced administration costs and costs relating to professional fees.

“However, for the past two years, the council has been able to keep the precept increase to a minimum by using general reserves to balance the annual budget, but the council’s reserves are now at level where this is not possible for this year.

“At first glance, a 25.83 percent increase may seem exceptionally large, but because our precept is fairly low, any meaningful increase in expenditure creates a disproportionate percentage increase.” 

The proportion of electors’ council tax which is paid to the town council goes towards paying for the town council’s responsibilities, including maintaining the cemetery and chapel at Boston Road, maintaining the three play areas in the town, cutting the grass verges on behalf of the county council, providing CCTV and keeping the town centre tidy.

The council’s budget for organising town events, including the Remembrance Parade, Christmas Lights displays and the upcoming Platinum Jubilee Celebrations, are also covered by the precept tax.

The spokesman added that the 2022/23 adopted budget allows the council to increase its staffing capacity and be able to “better manage its growing responsibilities”.

“The hours worked by the deputy clerk have increased, and a new person has joined our estates team to help improve town services, by carrying out weekly town centre cleaning and maintenance of the additional spaces which were transferred from East Lindsay District Council in 2021.

“This appointment provides better resilience to the estates team and will hopefully make a noticeable difference to the appearance of our town centre.

“The town council wants to ensure that these important services continue, and unfortunately this has to be paid for from the town precept, although grants are sought wherever possible.”