Penzance Council votes on budgets and new precept charges for 2024/25

18th January 2024 in Council News

Councillors have voted to spend over £2 million in the parish from 1 April 2024

The Budget and Precept:

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 the council asks residents for to provide local services and maintain public facilities.

At the Full Council Meeting held on 15 January, which was open to the press and public, Penzance Council voted to adopt a new budget and earmarked reserves for 2024/25, and to increase the precept, in real terms, by £21.34 a year for a Band D property. This represents an annual increase of 7.12% for every household.

80% of households in the Parish are Council Tax Bands A-C, which means the vast majority of households will see a real-terms increase of £18.97 per year or less; this works out as an extra £1.58 per month or less.

It should be noted that Penzance Council is only increasing the small section of Council Tax that is allocated to the town council; the total Council Tax Bill is not increasing by 7.12%. Cornwall Council have not yet decided on their precept for the upcoming financial year but are looking at increasing the Council Tax they charge.

Based on last year’s Council Tax bill, Penzance Council’s precept accounted for just 13% of the total bill paid by households in the parish. The remaining 87% was split between Cornwall Council and the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner. These shares of the bill will be very similar for the upcoming year.

Cllr Stephen Reynolds, Mayor of Penzance, said: “We are very aware that times are hard for our residents, so the decision to increase our precept was not taken lightly. As a Council we have been working hard to minimise our costs. At the same time, we are also increasing our income generation, and that’s made a significant reduction in the level of precept increase we needed to set for the upcoming year.

“Over many years, spending cuts by central government and Cornwall Council mean that town councils like ours have had to step up the level of services we provide and our precept has to reflect this. It enables us to continue providing much-used services like public toilets and public open spaces, as well as supporting cultural events that make our parish what it is like the St Piran’s Day celebrations, Golowan and Montol.”

“We want to be able to deliver local services and support our local communities not just today, but in the future too. This relatively modest precept rise will safeguard services now, while putting us on a sound financial footing for the years ahead.”

Our Services and Grant Funding:

All the money that residents pay to Penzance Council is spent within the parish across Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole, Paul, Heamoor, Gulval and Eastern Green. The money is used to provide local services and maintain public facilities including, but not restricted to:

A full list of Penzance Council services is available on our ‘What we do’ page.

In addition to services, Penzance Council also provides grants to community organisations and local events which benefit residents in the Parish of Penzance. The ongoing impacts of the cost-of-living crisis will continue to affect residents in the year ahead so the council will continue to offer funding to local organisations who are working on the ground to support those most in need.

So far in this current financial year, over £85,000 has been awarded in grant funding to: Penzance Rotary Club, Newlyn FISH Trust, MusicAbility CIC, Global Jamming, Newlyn Community Flora Group, West Cornwall Women’s Aid, Chapel Street Music, Heamoor CIO, Newlyn Harbour Lights, Devon & Cornwall Community Watch Association, Earth’s Green Guardians, Montol Festival CIC, Jubilee Pool, and Kesoberi CIC’s Penzance & Newlyn Youth Club. More information about applying for a grant can be found on our ‘Grants’ page.

Penzance Council is also the lead partner for the Golowan Festival and provided £33,500 in strategic funding for the 2023 festival, which was a great success and included a youth takeover for the first time. The festival has been an important part of the town’s calendar for over thirty years and is much loved by locals and visitors alike. Additionally, Penzance Council provided £20,000 funding to Pengarth Day Centre who provide a much-needed service for our older residents with their ‘Meals on Wheels’ and range of activities in their hub in Morrab Gardens.

Last week the local community and Penzance Council learnt of Jubilee Pool’s current financial difficulties and their decision to revert to seasonal opening for the foreseeable future. Penzance Council has been a long-term supporter of the pool as a community facility and has gradually been reducing the payments it makes over the past few years.

Whilst Councillors have agreed a budget which includes a provisional £40,000 budget allocation for Jubilee Pool for 2024/25, any payment is subject to Penzance Council being satisfied with the pool’s revised business plan, and to a legally binding Service Level Agreement being signed. Any payment made by the Council would be used, as in previous years, to help towards the costs of the pool’s winter maintenance, subsidised entry for adults living in the parish, and to continue the PZ Under 16s Free Swim scheme.

View the full breakdown of budgets here.

View a draft copy of the meeting minutes here.

How we set our precept:

Ahead of the Full Council Meeting on 15 January, the Chair and Lead Officer of each standing Committee that has an individual budget (Arts & Culture, Finance & General Purposes, and Leisure & Amenities) formed draft budgets for the coming financial year.

To ensure full scrutiny was given and to allow open discussion, the proposed budgets went through each Committee once; all meetings were open to the public to attend and participate.

Independent accountants, who specialise in Local Government finance, were also contracted to examine the budgets and precept, and to provide financial advice and suggestions to the Committee Chairs and senior Council Officers.

Support available to pay your Council Tax Bill:

Anyone who thinks they will struggle to pay their Council Tax is encouraged to contact Cornwall Council’s Benefits Team to find out whether they could be eligible for Council Tax Support which could cover some of the costs of their bill. The team can be contacted by phone: 0300 1234 121 or visit their website: Can I claim council tax support – Cornwall Council

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