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Neston Town Council Precept Announcement 2024-2025

As the UK felt the effects of storm Jocelyn, the second storm in as many days, Neston Town Councillors met at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 23rd January 2024, in order to finalise the budget for the coming financial year. Councillors engaged in a lively debate, following recommendations and requests from the Council’s various committees: Market & Town Hall, Community & Environment and Finance & Administration.

At the Full Council meeting, the majority of councillors present voted for a 20% increase to Neston Town Council’s precept for 2024/25, which is 4.7% less than last year. 75% of the properties within Neston are rated as a Band D or lower. Households who benefit from Council Tax relief do not pay this precept. In the coming year, Neston Town Council will focus on its broader strategic objectives. This is in addition to meeting the current challenges posed by general rising costs. The small increase of less than 24p per week for a Band D property will enable the Town Council to progress its strategic priorities including: supporting the improvement of health and wellbeing, protecting and enhancing the local environment, public spaces and heritage, and supporting the development of arts, culture, and events within the town.

Neston Town Council provides Christmas lighting for the Town Centre and Parkgate, and options are being investigated to pave the way for improvements in 2024. The Town Council has budgeted to make improvements to allotment sites. Neston Town Council remains committed to supporting community projects and events through its Grant Scheme, with a combined budget for these activities totalling £18,000 for 2024/25. Financial support will also be offered to the community through the Council’s donations programme to enable popular events in the town to continue.

Neston Market’s updated charging schedule will see nominal rises to pitch fees for traders taking effect from 1st April this year. The Market’s promotions budget has been increased as the Town Council recognises that the Friday Market is one of the town’s best assets. Neston Town Council officers continue to work closely with their Cheshire West & Chester Council colleagues in order to keep the Town Hall premises in good working order and to lobby for improvements and repairs as required.

The Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG) is the body responsible for issuing proper practices about the governance and accounts of smaller authorities. As with any financial entity; it is essential that local authorities have sufficient reserves (both general and ear-marked) to finance both day-to-day operations and future plans. A Council of Neston’s size should plan towards holding the equivalent of three months net revenue expenditure in reserves. Following a steady depletion over the last two years, councillors voted in favour of topping up the General Reserves through the precept to ensure the Council remains within the recommended zone. This will help to alleviate additional fiscal pressure on the coming year’s budget by spreading the £35,000 shortfall over the next three years, without over-stretching rate-payers to achieve this in only one year. Neston Town Council takes future financial planning seriously and the Council is committed to building up its finances. 

The Mayor of Neston, Cllr Steve Wastell, notes “I am pleased to represent our town and I would like to thank my fellow councillors for their commitment to driving Neston forward. Neston Town Council is committed to creating a sustainable market town with a vibrant centre for Neston, its residents, businesses and visitors by fostering a strong community spirit. In order to continue accomplishing the objectives set within the Council’s Delivery Plan.”

Neston Town Council is looking forward to continuing its work within the community and helping to support a town its residents can be proud of.

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