The state of Somerset Council’s finances has been widely reported and given that the deficit that has got to be balanced to avoid the Council declaring itself ‘bankrupt’ is in the realms of £100 million, whatever happens there will have to be significant cuts to services, reductions in staff levels and assets being sold off. The question asked is what will be the likely effect on Milverton?
Somerset Council has asked all parish councils to consider whether there are ‘services’ that they would wish to take over and this will be debated at both the December and January meetings. Whilst not having the facilities to be able to manage major projects, it may be possible for the Parish Council (PC) to become more involved in eg the jetting of drains, vegetation clearance and small maintenance works, either by itself or in conjunction with neighbouring parishes. The impact on the precept, being the only source of revenue the PC has, would have to be assessed as well as whether there would be any support that Somerset Council may offer if some services are taken on.
If it is concluded that the Parish Council does want to be able to ensure certain services are provided, the consequence would almost certainly be that the precept would need to increase to pay for them. The potential sums are not currently known, but as an indication, if the precept rose by £5,000, it would mean an average annual increase in everyone’s Council Tax of around £4 per person. If you wish your views on this topic to be heard, do speak to any Parish Councillor or attend the forthcoming meetings on either 4 December or 8 January in the Victoria Rooms.
Clerk to Milverton Parish Council