At a virtual Extraordinary Council Meeting held on 12 January 2021, streamed live on Facebook, Penzance Council voted to adopt a revised 2020/21 budget, draft budgets for 2021/22 – 2023/24, and to increase precept charges by 2.86% for 2021/22.
For residents in the Parish, the increase in precept charges, in real terms, means an annual increase of £5.89 for each household (based on a Band D property).
The precept is the total amount that Penzance Council raises through Council Tax to meet the needs of its budgets – this includes providing and maintaining services like public toilets, allotment sites, Penlee Park, Wherrytown Skateboard Plaza, and the Council offices and reception.
Penzance Council Social Action Fund grants also come out of the agreed budgets; since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council have provided emergency grants to local organisations and groups who are helping vulnerable residents including: The Fisherman’s Mission, West Cornwall Women’s Aid, Whole Again Communities CIC, Pengarth Day Centre, Trelya, YMCA Cornwall, Solomon Browne Memorial Hall, and St Petroc’s – Breadline.
Ahead of the Extraordinary Council Meeting, each of the Council’s standing Committees with individual budgets (Finance & General Purposes, Leisure & Amenities, and Penlee House) conducted an annual review of their three-year forecast of revenue and capital payments.
To ensure full scrutiny was given and to allow open discussion, the revised and proposed budgets went through each Committee twice – all meetings were open to the public to attend and participate.
Like other town councils, Covid-19 has impacted Penzance Council’s financial position. With so much uncertainty, it has been very challenging to ensure the Council can continue to provide its services within the Parish and set a reasonable level of precept during what is such a difficult financial time for its residents.
The agreed increase of 2.86% to precept charges for Penzance Parish is much lower than increases announced by other town councils across the duchy including Helston and St Ives.
Penzance Council must safeguard against all possible outcomes and look to the future to ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of Penzance for the good of all.
There are difficult times ahead, but the budget and precept agreed by Councillors ensures that Penzance Council are mindful of potential problems and can continue to deliver vital services within the community.