Bury St Edmunds residents to pay an extra 3.8% for town council tax precept

Town Council Offices in Bury St Edmunds.

Town Council Offices in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

Taxpayers will see a 3.8% increase in their Bury St Edmunds town council precept from April 1.

The change, which equates to around an extra 90p per year for band D homes, was voted through by Bury’s town council this week.

The move is much less than the rise approved last year, which saw an increase of 73% and nearly £10 per band D household.

That money has gone on a range of projects in the town centre, such as the recent hiring of new PCSO Emily Howell, with a second PCSO due to follow in April.

Last year, the council said it wanted to prove it could do more for the town than “just allotments”.

Chairman Andrew Speed said at this week’s meeting the council needed to be “imaginative” with how it spent the money to help the town.

“The PCSO was a big start towards that,” he said.

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This year’s rise was much smaller and was the smallest rise the council could implement and still meet borough guidance about it being divisible by nine, so it could be divided across all nine council tax bands.

However, there was not unanimous agreement on this year’s increase.

Councillor Kevin Hind objected to the council tax precept rise, saying he had been able to justify last year’s increase to his residents because of all the projects planned by the council – but he said he was not sure he could the same with this year’s 3.8%rise.

“I can’t go to my residents this year and say I voted to put up your precept, even though I wasn’t sure exactly what the money was going to be spent on,” he said.

Mr Speed emphasised the sums of money talked about were very small and would amount to around an extra 9p a month for band D homes.

Last year’s raise brought in an extra £130,000 for the town council – this year’s would bring in around an extra £13,000.

Eight councillors voted in favour of the precept rise.

This year’s council tax precept in Bury is estimated to bring in £302,465 – a figure now projected to rise to £316,389 next year.

Richard Rout, Clive Springett, Kevin Hind, Diane Hind and Peter Thompson did not vote in favour of the rise.

Councillors also approved the 2017/18 budget.