Leighton-Linslade Town Council says it has been forced to increase council tax for the first time in seven years so it can continue to fund an ambitious range of projects and services across the parish.
The average Band D charge will be increasing by just under 50p per month and the council says despite seeking ways to reduce the impact on residents, the increase from £149.58 to £155.50 per annum (a 3.96 % rise) will secure an ongoing commitment to project and service improvement.
Conservative Council Leader Steve Jones said: “We are putting the council tax precept, our reserves to great effect by delivering over £1 million pounds worth of project and service improvements over the coming five years.
“The Town Council will this year provide over £65,000 worth of support to local voluntary and charitable organisations including Citizens Advice.
“The highly acclaimed TACTIC Service which provides help, advice and support to our young people will continue to offer specialist support where needed.
“The parish will also benefit from further investment in the award-winning Parson’s Close Recreation Ground which will see the first inclusive adventure playground provided.
“To support our environmental ambitions, drinking water fountains will be provided where possible within our parks.
“Continuing investment will be made in events such as the Canal Festival and Christmas weekend.
“We will continue to expand town trails that presently include the children’s and heritage trail.
“For our older persons, the town council will continue to support initiatives such as the monthly Tea Dance and Movies for the More Mature.
“In addition, a task force is shortly to be set up whose purpose is to identify what other activities we can provide”.
Despite much housebuilding in Leighton-Linslade the tax base (number of properties to bill) has increased by just 0.8% from 14,456 dwellings to 14,572 for this year.
The smallest rise for a number of years has seen the town council question the figures.
A budget report states: “It is disappointing to note that the council tax base has seen the smallest increase in housing numbers when compared to the previous four years even though meaningful growth is taking place within the parish boundary.
“When challenged, the principal authority who provide the council tax base data is satisfied that the housing numbers are correct and representative of current circumstance; namely, single person occupancy, completions and anticipated non-collection rates.”
The town council’s charge is just a small proportion of the overall tax bill, with precepts also set by the fire and police services. The highest proportion set by Central Bedfordshire Council which is responsible for services such as benefits, community safety, health and social sare, education, housing, homelessness, planning, leisure and countryside, waste and recycling transport, roads and parking.
This year CBC is proposing a 3.95% increase.