Hayle Town Council: 'feel as if a gun is to our heads'
CHARGING taxpayers more for local services has left Hayle councillors feeling like they have a gun to their head, The Cornishman has been told.
An extra £37.95 will be added to bills as part of the town council precept, a rise of 66.73 per cent on last year.
Councillors put the increase, which equates to 73p a week, down to having to take on more services from Cornwall Council.
"We feel that we have to increase the precept to reflect the extra services and assets that are coming back to Hayle Town Council from Cornwall Council," said Jayne Ninnes, town mayor.
"Cornwall Council has had funding removed from central Government and they can't raise their precept by more than 2 per cent so I understand why they are putting the gun to our head."
The decision to up the precept was taken at a meeting of Hayle Town Council last week. The moves were forced thanks to the extra services being handed over by County Hall. From April 1 the local authority has pledged to take on the maintenance of all four public toilets in Hayle, including the freehold at the recreation ground. The deal will only be struck, however, if Cornwall Council agrees to refurbish and repair the toilets before handing them over.
Also adding to the cost of services for the town are the likes of the Millpond and King George V Memorial Walk. These open spaces have been leased to Cornwall Council but the authority is handing them back to the town next year. By taking on the spaces, Hayle has added even more cash to its precept.
"We have no choice but to take these on," said Mrs Ninnes.
"The rise in precept will be difficult for some families. Equally though, if we do not have places like the recreation ground and memorial walk, that will have an impact too. Families that struggle to pay the extra precept will struggle even more without these free facilities."
As part of the tax talks, it was also resolved to provide £2,000 to support the town's tourist information centre for another year.