Louth Town Councillors have agreed to reduce their precept request for 2019/20, meaning that an average tax-payer in Louth will pay around £12 less than previously expected over the next year.
The decision to alter the precept request was made in ‘closed session’ on Tuesday evening (February 12), following a formal written request from at least three members of the town council for the matter to be re-opened.
On Tuesday evening, a revised precept request of £318,524.50 was unanimously approved by all town councillors in attendance.
This means an average ‘Band D’ household will now pay £63.79 for the year (an annual increase of £9.21, and a percentage increase of 16.87%).
This is £12.16 less than had been previously decided, and represents a weekly increase of just under 18 pence per household.
As reported previously, the town council had originally decided on a precept request of £379,197 at their meeting on January 15.
This meant that an average ‘Band D’ household would have been expected to pay £75.95 for the year (an annual increase of £21.37, and a percentage increase of 28.9%).
This original decision was mired in controversy, as it included a sum of money set aside to ‘future proof’ the town in case of an expected ‘cap’ on future precept requests, and an potential rise in the number of assets and services that the town council may be expected to carry out in future.
However, many people deemed a 28.9% increase to be an unacceptably large burden on Louth taxpayers, and it is understood that the negative reaction from the public was part of the reason for re-visiting the issue and altering the precept request.
A statement from Louth Town Council this afternoon (Friday) explained: “Following written requests from three members of the Council, Louth Town Councillors were called to an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday evening to reconsider their previous resolution regarding the precept.
“Councillors were keen to have the opportunity to review their previous decision and are pleased to announce that they have now agreed to lower the precept request, meaning that the cost for a ‘Band D’ property will now be £63.79, which is an annual increase of £9.21 and equates to a weekly increase of just under 18p, compared to last year.”
A statement from the town council’s Labour Group this afternoon welcomed the latest decision.
The group said it ‘disagreed with the hefty 28.9% rise that had been voted on previously, which would have hit local households at a time when other non-discretionary bills are also going up’.
Councillor David Hall added: “This is a welcome about-turn by the rest of the council.
“Even so, it is not an ideal situation. The Tory government recently voted for another reduction in local government funding of about £1 billion which means all councils will be faced with a choice between raising council tax rates or reducing services in future.”
Although Louth Town Council’s decision will be welcomed by residents, households can still expect to be hit with a large increase in their Council Tax bills across the board - with district council, county council, and police taxes also being taken into account.
Altogether, these four precept rises mean that average households can expect to pay an increase of over £100 in the upcoming financial year.
• What are your views on Louth Town Council’s decision? Email firstname.lastname@example.org