Lostwithiel residents: 'Where is our money going?'
RESIDENTS in Lostwithiel are demanding answers after another steep rise in council tax charges left them outraged.
Lostwithiel Town Council has increased its precept by 23 per cent for the forthcoming financial year – this hike follows a rise of 72 per cent last year.
This means Lostwithiel Town Council's precept – what it charges residents for its services – has more than doubled in the past two years from £56,579 in 2011-12 to £119,925 for 2013-14.
Residents in a Band D property in town will now pay £1,535.37 for the year.
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Kath Fenton, owner of the Country Fryer Chip Shop, was outraged.
She said: "I would just like to know where our money is going.
"We were told last year that the rise was to cover the council taking over the running of the public toilets but they aren't due to be handed over to the council until April this year so they've had a year paid in advance.
"Then at times during the summer the same toilets were closed and I have people coming into my shop asking to use the toilets which then costs extra in cleaning, paper and water.
"The question an awful lot of residents want answering is simply where has all our money gone and why, when Cornwall Council freeze charges, do the town council continue to raise theirs?
"I've got no confidence in them; until we can get some younger people in to the council with fresh ideas I don't see things changing.
Resident Lynne King agreed saying: "Where is our money going because no-one seems to know?
"I want to know what the town council actually do. What do they do to benefit the people of our community?
"My council tax has gone up by £22.77 this year, that's not the recommended increase and I want to know where the money has gone.
"It's like we pay for a Rolls-Royce and end up with a pushbike full of punctures."
The council defended the rise by stating it was necessary "to keep the good standard of our lovely town".
Lostwithiel mayor, Gill Parsons, said: "Unfortunately we will most probably have to take over the running of the only public convenience in the town at a cost to the town council. The two very prominent and important listed buildings are owned by the town council and have to be maintained.
"We offer free parking but all this at a cost of rent, rates, lighting and repairs.
"The play equipment is wearing out and needs to be replaced and we try to keep our lands and parks to a suitable standard but unfortunately all this at the residents' expense."
With council elections taking place in May, Mrs Parsons said it was an ideal opportunity for anyone to come along and be a part of the decision-making process by becoming a town councillor: "Application forms are available in the town clerk's office," she added.