Cromer town leaders have agreed to increase their share of next year’s council tax by 31pc.

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The hike was nodded through on Monday when town councillors rubber stamped their 2014/15 budget, which will go up by £49,215 to £208,945.

Members said the main cause for the rise was sparked by their decision not to accept a £25,000 grant from the district council, while staff costs and their bid to take on North Lodge Park had also piled on the pounds.

Deputy mayor Dorothy Airs said although the increase sounded “awful” it would only equate to £10.83 per household per year.

She added: “We have increased staffing hours because of the quantity of work the two (office) staff were having to get through.

“We have also started negotiations about North Lodge Park. If we do take it over we have got to start paying for maintenance, and so we have made provision for that - just over £14,000 - in the budget.”

Explaining the reason for turning down the district council grant Mrs Airs said there was no guarantee it would be offered again, which would leave the town in deficit.

“We have been advised they will not be making them in future. If we took it this year and then we’re capped on what we can do with the precept, we will have a big black hole in our figures. It’s better to bite the bullet this year.”

■ What do you think? Email nnn.letters@archant.co.uk.

4 comments

  • Whilst the article does not make it clear, I believe the grant referred to is the Local Council Tax Support Scheme. This was introduced in November 2012 and replaced direct support towards Council Tax payment for those on benefits and, perhaps more significantly, pensioners. The principle was to allow local authorities to manage matters within their own communities (Localism..) It seems totally illogical to me that a Town Council would refuse the grant - they have in effect left that money with the District Council to do as they will with instead of accepting it for the potential direct benefit of those within their town. The fear is that because taking it effectively reduces your actual precepted amount, and if capping is applied in the future, you will therefore be capped at too low a figure. This assumes two things: 1. that the grant will be withdrawn in the future and 2. that town and parish councils will at some point be capped. Neither of these things are bound to happen. Although Cromer's decision might well be the type of action that Mr Pickles would see as a very good reason to introduce a cap!

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    MikeK

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but is'nt this the same council that wasted much time money and resources arguing with Iceland about a shop front that nobody but the council could see a problem with ?. Every little helps.

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    "Bin here all me life"

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • The article doesn't really explain what the grant is. It's a council tax benefit transitional grant which is only intended for one or two years. I believe the precept rises if you don't take it anyway. If you do take it you'll likely have a short fall next year when it's stopped. A government carrot and stick trick.

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    Jono

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • So, an opportunity to receive £25k is refused 'because it may not be offered again', council staff are doing overtime, so we have to pay, and the council MAY have to take on North lodge so MAY have to pay £14k maintenance. What an absolute pathetic joke of a council. Welcome to Norfolk.

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    backwoodsman

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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