Letter regarding Budget 2016 – 2017

Crewe Town Council has thoroughly examined the issues relevant to setting a budget for 2016/7 and considered all options to produce a balanced budget that keeps costs to residents down, but which also enables the Council to build on what has been achieved since 2013.

Town Councillors have considered the budget in terms of ‘how does this affect me and my family?’ A Band D household in Crewe pays around £29 PER YEAR to enable the Town Council to deliver its work programme on behalf of the Town. Of course households pay substantially more to Cheshire East Council, Cheshire Constabulary and Cheshire Fire and Rescue because of the scale of services they deliver.

By population the town of Crewe is the largest in Cheshire East, but has the lowest precept of all the Towns and Parishes, with the exception of Wilmslow. On the one hand this keeps costs to Crewe residents lower than elsewhere, but it does also mean that investment in the town is less than elsewhere in Cheshire East.

The local context is also important. Since 2013 the Crewe Town Council has faced a reduction in the support grant it receives from Cheshire East Council from over £80k in 2013 to £26k in 2016 and will receive no support grant the year after. This loss in income, though large in percentage terms, has been absorbed without an impact on Crewe households for the past three years. There has been growth in the number of households in Crewe which has added to the income of the Town Council. That growth in itself will bring in an extra £19k in 2016 which will offset some pressures.

The Town Council wants to carry out activities that are to the benefit of the community it serves, it wants to promote civic pride, improve the local environment and build a strong economy but to do this requires investment. The Town Council is pleased at how well the expansion of the Christmas Lights has been received, both in the town centre and on Nantwich Road. Residents have also commented on the quality of the floral displays and the expanding programme of events in the Town. An ability to grant fund community groups in the town has boosted contributions to help our community. No less important is the work to bring together our communities and implement the Community Plan. As a consequence, the Town Council has decided that there is a need to allocate more money to these and other areas if there is to be further improvement and investment in Crewe.

So how will the Town Council`s decision to increase the Precept impact on households in Crewe. The Town Council will be asking households in Band D properties to pay an additional 6p PER WEEK or just over £3 per year.  Most households in Crewe are Band A or Band B which means that these household will see a smaller increase of 4p per week or less. It is expected that Crewe will remain the Town Council with the lowest Precept in Cheshire East other than Wilmslow.

The Town Council has taken the view that Crewe people want the Town Council to carry on doing what it can to improve the town and that these modest increases will enable the Town Council to meet those expectations. It is important that the Town Council continues to seek the views of people in the town to ensure that the correct priorities are being addressed and comments are of course always welcomed.

Simon Yates  

Leader of Crewe Town Council

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