Anger as council tax goes up by 50%
ST COLUMB Major Town Council has defended a move to increase its share of the council tax by more than 50 per cent.
Residents in an average Band D property will pay £165.40 for the town council's services in the next financial year, a rise of £58.31 from last year's precept of £107.09.
Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has also upped its precept by £3.19 while Cornwall Council has frozen its share.
In total, St Columb Major town council has increased its share of the precept from £157,000 for 2012-13 to £205,000 for 2013-14.
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Resident Max Haughton wrote to the Cornish Guardian questioning why St Columb Major town council needed to increase its share of the precept if Cornwall Council could freeze theirs.
The pensioner said the councillors were living in "cloud-cuckoo-land" but St Columb Major town council clerk Elizabeth Banfield said the increase was necessary in order to take on both the town's public toilets – and keep them open all year – as well as upgrade and restore the children's play area.
She said: "If it hadn't had to take on the toilets or provide the children with more equipment the precept would've only had to go up by about £10,000.
"When we asked for a breakdown for the cost of running the toilets it totalled £30,000. We calculated it and got prices and found we could do it for around £20,000 to £21,000 and that is having them open all year round. They offered us a small grant to help run the toilets for one year but we have not got that yet.
"The recreation ground toilets are closed in the winter which is awkward for the footballers who need to use them. We will be opening both sets of toilets for 52 weeks of the year for £10,000 cheaper than residents have been paying Cornwall Council to do it."
She said a further £20,000 has been put aside for new play equipment in the recreation ground and £2,000 would pay to restore guttering and a door which was broken by vandals at the cemetery chapels. The remaining £6,000 accounted for "natural increases".
"We are having the old play equipment mended and painted but it has been noted that there are no seesaws or anything like that in there. So we are hopefully going to get more equipment.
"The CCTV cameras have been done but £6,500 will come out of next year's money. Repairs are needed at the bowling club and football pavilion."
Mr Haughton said the town council had previously promised improvements to the town but they had been "purely cosmetic and lacking in any real benefit".
He said: "With the current financial climate, the councillors must be living in cloud-cuckoo-land. How can they expect pensioners like myself, on a fixed income, not to question their reasoning and decisions for expenditure."