The Council has a statutory duty to set a budget each year which should cover the cost of all its duties and any discretionary expenditure it might wish to make. Views expressed in the consultation process have been taken into account in preparing the budget for 2021/22. These are based on the best estimates of costs out-turns.
As last year, the figures cover the main cost centres:-
- Democratic Services (including all staff costs direct and indirect, training, audit, Data Protection, Information Commissioner, publicity, elections/polls)
- Memberships and subscriptions (including county and national societies)
- Town Council Office (including rent, rates, connectivity, services, lease obligations)
- Administration (including office expenses, equipment, software, website, emails, insurance, Christmas lights, speed signs, pocket park, legal costs)
- Projects (including many of the suggestions made before and during the consultation)
As last year, it is impossible to accurately gauge the impact of local government cuts and Local Government Reorganisation. Councillors have made their own judgements about what services might be lost, cut, or offered to the Town Council and whether or not they wish to make provision for them. A cursory glance at other Councils’ budgets and cuts might produce items such as: grit bins; grass cutting of verges; street lighting, and the Town Market.
What the Council could not have imagined in setting last year’s budget was the pandemic and the impact Covid-19. It should go without saying that there have been significant delays in projects and activities caused by the lockdowns and with staff diverted to other duties
The Council’s approved budget is available on the Council’s website. The Council continues to aim to reduce the high level of balances within a three year period, and to earmark funds for items which it considers appropriate for the Town Council to fund (rather than another Local Authority). This would also allow the Council to manage the expenditure adequately, retain a buffer against the impact of the effects of the impending reorganisation of local government in the County, and current national uncertainties.