Town hall wants extra £30,000 from tax-payers
AFTER setting its budget for the year from April, Petersfield Town Council has revealed an ambitious spending programme that will see it eat into its investments despite remaining uncertainty over the pandemic.
Council clerk Neil Hitch said: “Councillors recognised that much uncertainty still exists as a result of the pandemic both within the community and the local economy
“For these reasons it is very difficult to accurately predict the levels of income the council will receive from its normal and regular activities, so a cautious approach has been taken in particular with the levels of income expected from the hires of the Festival Hall.
“The council also wishes to continue to maintain and enhance the assets that it manages and operates on behalf of the community.
“It plans to invest in them to improve them as well as taking further steps to reduce its carbon footprint in the face of the ongoing issues surrounding climate change.”
The principle activities the council will be looking complete in the next year are to:
n progress to RIBA Stage 4 of the £13m refurbishment of the Festival & Town Hall;
n replace the artificial grass safety surfacing in the Heath toddler play areas;
n start to explore means of erosion control around the play area and Plump Duck cafe (pictured);
n extend the town hall council chamber to increase its Covid-safe capacity and make it a far more usable community space and room for a wider variety of activities and events as outlined in the Festival Hall refurbishment consultation;
n further provision to enhance the sports pitches at Penns Field;
n start to complete items contained within the recently completed Climate Action Plan to reduce the level of carbon emissions produced by the council;
n run a Green (ECO) Fair in conjunction with PeCAN (Petersfield Climate Action Network);
n implement items from within the Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) produced by EHDC by working with others to attract further investment to delivering LCWIP aims; and
n refurbish the aging kitchens in both The Avenue Pavilion and Love Lane Pavilion.
In order to meet these challenges the council has increased the level of council tax it takes by just over £30,000 to £918,508, representing an increase of £5.24 a year for a Band D property, a 3.4 per cent rise.
In addition, the council is withdrawing a further £200,000 from the investments it has made as a result of selling the land at Penns Field for development a few years ago.
One of the biggest regular outgoings for the council is salaries and pensions, in recent years it has increased staff, and now lists 19 employees on its website, a mix of part and full time.
Staff salary is about £22,230 a month, or just under £267,000 a year, while pension payments run at about £7,000 a month, adding around £84,000 to the council’s yearly outgoing.
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