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Tax bills to rise as Cully council spend increases

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

Cullompton Cemetery is run by the town council

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RATEPAYERS in Cullompton will see a substantial increase in their council tax when bills land on their doorsteps this April.

The town council has agreed to a 27 per cent hike in their share of the levy, which will go from around £145,000 to £198,000.

Mayor Gordon Guest said: "We receive less than £25 per resident and there are no automatic increases as the town grows.

"We have had exceptional non budgeted costs related to the cemetery and its extension, meaning we have to borrow an extra £30,000 over three years to cover additional construction and stabilisation work, as well as funding future maintenance."

Band D properties will see an average of increase of £18.02, which is around 34p per week.

Cllr Guest said this comes on top of losing the £5,000 cemetery grant from Mid Devon District Council.

In two years the canal will lose at least another £5,000 towards the £17,600 annual cost of the loan taken out to expand the cemetery.

Other costs have also gone up. The parish authority's payroll bill has also risen by 7.5 per cent to pay for additional staff to run and maintain the authority, another £5,000 is need to repair the town hall and there has been a hike from £1,000 to £3,800 in business rates for the free shoppers' car park at St Andrew's.

Parish councils are also likely to see a two per cent cap on tax increases. The mayor added: "We need to make the increases now on the basis that we will not be able to make them later to maintain services."

The authority says the increase was made reluctantly by members who are charged to run and maintain the cemetery, as well as clean the town hall and streets – duties other towns have handed to district councils.

Cllr Jane Campbell, chairman of the resources committee, said: "People have to be buried, the streets have to be cleaned and loans have to be repaid. We do not want to see Cullompton without Christmas lights, a summer fair or swings in the Upcott field.

"In future, the town is going to have to bid for funds to cover new leisure facilities and support for business growth, so we will need seed funding for these projects. Cullompton is in danger of missing out in relation to Crediton and Tiverton, both of which have higher precepts relative to the services they provide residents."

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