Town council freezing tax bill

Householders in Shrewsbury are set to see no increase in the town council’s precept when the new tax year starts in April.

Shrewsbury Town Council, which is based at the town's library, will be freezing council tax for the coming year.
Shrewsbury Town Council, which is based at the town's library, will be freezing council tax for the coming year.

The council’s proposed budget for 2021/22, including the precept freeze, was agreed at a meeting of its finance and general purposes committee on Monday evening, and will now go before the full council for approval later this month.

It was also revealed that the council will need to dip into its reserves to cover an overspend of £84,609 incurred this financial year as a result of the Covid pandemic.

The decision not to raise the precept – set at £60.25 for a band D property – means the council also faces a projected loss of £11,558 in 21/22.

Finance officer Andy Watkin said no increase was proposed in order to “help the residents of Shrewsbury during these difficult times”.

He added: “Unfortunately we will generate a loss and we will need to call on our reserves to the tune of £11,558.

“I don’t think it will be better than that – it may be that it’s slightly worse – but we do have the reserves to cater for it.”

The proposed budget for 21/22 is £3,679,021, against a projected income of £3,667,463.

Of this, £1,525,610 will come from the precept, which represents a slight increase on 20/21 due to an additional 142 properties being added to the taxbase.

Committee chairman Alan Mosley said: “I’m not going to propose that we increase the precept this year.

“I do think that Covid and the financial hardship that it has imposed through the lockdowns and the regulations means that local residents have suffered enough in that respect, and we won’t impose any more taxes on them.”

The 20/21 budget approved before the pandemic set out an expected expenditure of £3,726,281, but Mr Watkin’s current projection is that the council will spend £3,820,590 by the end of the financial year.

However the expected income has also increased, from £3,726,467 in the 20/21 budget to a current forecast of £3,735,981.

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