Council tax could rise by £12 to fund street care in Thornbury
TAKING over soon-to-be scrapped street care services from the local authority could cost the taxpayer an extra £12 per year in Thornbury as the responsibility falls on the town to pick up the bill.
South Gloucestershire Council announced it would stop funding all 'extra' services currently delivered in towns and villages, including planting floral displays and providing and emptying dog bins.
It will also reduce the frequency of grass cutting from next year in a bid to save £340,000.
The onus will now be on towns and parishes to pay for and provide these services themselves.
In light of these changes, Thornbury Town Council has launched a questionnaire to find out how voters wish their council tax to be spent, if at all, on street care, and which services they would be prepared to give up or save.
If they opt to retain all services, the town council will be forced to raise its share of council tax, known as its precept, by £12.
Keeping only the main services would cost an average £9 more each year per household.
Questionnaires will be available in the Gazette on Thursday 5.
Cllr Matt Stringer, chairman of the town council's environment committee, told the Gazette: "This is a big change in the way these services are funded and we are keen to find out people’s views.
"As these services are provided on a discretionary basis by South Gloucestershire Council they can change them without formal consultation.
"In future if town councils wish to retain these services they will have to pay for their provision through the parish council tax. It is estimated that this will cost each household around £9 per year to pay for these services."
He added: "Once we have gathered these views we can then use them to help us make these important decisions."
All parishes and towns across South Gloucestershire will be affected by these cutbacks from April 2014.
As part of the survey a number of options will be put to townspeople, inviting their suggestions to establish their priorities.
Reducing the number of dog bins and placing them instead closer to well-used dog-walking areas will also be considered.
Maps showing the possible new location of bins will be available throughout September at the Town Hall and at www.thornburytowncouncil.gov.uk
Two open sessions on the consultation process will be held between 10am and 2pm at St Mary Shopping Centre tomorrow, Friday, September 6 and on Saturday, September 7.
Completed questionnaires must be returned to the Town Hall by September 30.
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