Residents face an increase in council tax after report

A town council has agreed on its annual budget, with an increase in council tax to follow.

Oswestry Town Council’s finance and general purposes committee met virtually on Monday evening to discuss its budget for 2021/22 and consider a report put forward by town clerk, Arren Roberts, and finance officer, Roger Dyke.

In the report, recommendations were set out to the council, who then voted to approve them.

The report recommended that to meet the next year’s precept, council tax would need to rise by 2.6 per cent, from £78.07 for the average Band D property, to £80.42.

Mr Roberts’ report said: “These estimates and budget have been prepared in context of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of several of the council’s income streams.

“For example at the time of preparing this report, car park income (to date) in 2020/21 is 50 per cent lower than compared to 2019/20.

“Oswestry Town Council is able to deliver the services it does and contribute to public life in the way that it does, because it is in a strong financial position.

"This has come from robust approach to financial management, good budgeting and by taking a long-term view of the financial health of the council.

“Whilst the council is in a very strong financial position, a great deal of uncertainty remains and it has been difficult predicting 2020/2021 year end out-turn figures.”

Mr Roberts added: “The budget presented is based on the rising precept. The council are asking for £11,000 more than last year.

"This is an annual increase of £2.35 on an average Band D property. The council is able to do this and not increase charges due to it’s robust finances.

“We face a lot of challenges including car park charges. But this draft budget means we will be able to provide all the necessary services.

“As a council in terms of prices, there will need to be a review oncer there is certainty regarding the Covid-19 situation.

"We will need to review our operations and modernise as a reflection of a post-Covid world.”

Duncan Kerr, the town mayor, thanked the team for putting the budget together. The vote to approve the budget was unanimous.

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