Councillors voted to increase the precept by £23.08 for a Band A property
At last night’s Full Council Meeting, which was open to the press and public, Penzance Council voted to adopt a new budget and earmarked reserves for 2022-23, and to increase the precept by 16.35% for 2022/23.
Each year, Councillors vote on the Council’s budgets for the financial year ahead and decide what the precept will be (this is the amount we ask residents for so that we can keep providing local services and maintain public facilities).
What does the precept rise mean in real terms?
For residents in the Parish, the increase in precept charges, in real terms, means an annual increase of £23.08 for a Band A property, which works out as an extra 44p per week.
For a Band D property, the annual increase is £34.62, which works out as an extra 67p per week.
How does the money get spent by Penzance Council?
Services & Public Facilites
The money is used to provide local services and maintain public facilities including, but not restricted to:
- 7 Public Toilets and the Community Toilet Scheme
- Approximately two hundred allotment plots
- Wherrytown Skateboard Plaza
- Penlee Park
- An Anti-Social Behaviour Caseworker & CCTV
- Alexandra Playpark & Tennis Courts
- Penlee House Gallery & Museum
- Heamoor Field
- Foxes Lane Play Park in Mousehole
- Council Offices – Penlee Centre
The money is also used to employ Council staff.
The Council’s Social Action Fund grants also come out of the agreed budgets. During the Covid-19 pandemic, emergency grants have been given to local organisations and groups who help our most vulnerable residents including:
What has happened in the past with setting the precept?
The last time there was a significant rise in our precept was back in 2017 when Councillors voted for a 50.98 % increase (for a Band D property this was an annual increase of £64.50 or £1.24 extra a week).
The increase was mainly to cover the costs of taking on six public toilets and to prepare for the take over of Alexandra Playpark and Tennis Courts from Cornwall Council. The public toilets have since been greatly improved and the refurbished tennis courts and playpark are proving very popular.
Over the last four years Penzance Council have kept the precept as low as possible:
- In 2018/19 the increase was 2.18% (or 8p more per week)
- In 2019/20 the increase was 3.19% (or 12p more per week)
- In 2020/21 the increase was 2.17% (or 8p more per week)
- In 2021/22 the increase was 2.86% (or 11p more per week)
(These figures are based on a Band D property)
Scrutiny of the 2022/23 Council Budget
Ahead of the Full Council Meeting on 24 January, the Chair and Lead Officer of each standing Committee with individual budgets (Finance & General Purposes, Leisure & Amenities, and Penlee House) formed proposed budgets for the coming financial year.
To ensure full scrutiny was given and to allow open discussion, the proposed budgets went through each Committee at least once before being considered by Full Council – all meetings were open to the public to attend and participate.
Independent Chartered Accounts, who specialise in Local Government finance, were also contracted to look over the budgets and precept to provide financial advice and suggestions to the Committee Chairs and senior Council Officers.
Why this year’s precept rise is needed
One of the main reasons for the increase in the precept this financial year, is to cover the cost of employing more staff. More services will be transferred to Penzance Council over the coming year as Cornwall Council continues with its internal restructuring and Devolution Plan.
To deliver these extra services, Penzance Council simply needs to employ more members of staff. The Council’s expansion will also continue to provide local employment opportunities and deliver local services for local people.
The impacts of Covid-19 and the continued rise in living costs will affect our residents in the months ahead so we will continue to offer funding to local organisations who are working on the ground to support those most in need.