Council tax to rise in Thornbury
12:02pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
TAXPAYERS look set to see their council levy rise by at least £9 after an ‘overwhelming’ number of Thornburians backed the town council’s move to take over street maintenance services soon to be scrapped by the local authority.
South Gloucestershire Council opted to stop funding all the extra services currently delivered in towns and villages, including planting floral displays and providing and emptying dog bins.
This prompted town leaders to launch a survey asking residents whether they wished to pay an additional £9 in council tax each year to ‘rescue’ what they saw as essential street care and maintenance duties.
A total of 351 townspeople answered the questionnaire last month with a large majority agreeing to shell out more every year to keep the town as attractive and clean.
Cllr Matt Stringer who was in charge of the survey thanked Thornburians for making their views heard.
“Thornbury Town Council would like to thank all residents who responded to our questionnaire regarding the cutback in South Gloucestershire Council’s services in 2014," he said. " 350 residents took the time to complete the survey.
“The overwhelming majority of those who responded would like to see Thornbury remain as neat and tidy as it is now.
“The results of the questionnaire will now be looked at by the council’s environment committee and used as a basis for discussions with South Gloucestershire council officers.”
The questionnaire sought people’s views on the current services provided by the council and which of them they would be prepared to give up or save.
This outcome baffled some members of the town council, who doubted street care would prove a priority in uncertain economic times.
Although some found a response of 350 satisfying, others felt their personal opinion may not reflective of the entire population.
Cllr Gareth Davies told his colleagues at a meeting of the town council last week.
"Personally, I am a bit surprised in this economic climate that people are saying yes we would like to pay a bit more money to keep the town being nice," he said. "I just worry that it may not be representative of all the people in the town."
South Gloucestershire Council opted to cut services from April 2014 in a bid to save £340,000.
However it offered parishes and towns the opportunity to buy them back by hiring its street care department as they would a private contractor.
Taking-over maintenance, including most of the grass cutting, is expected to cost approximately £38,000 a year.
Town councillors are about to enter talks with South Gloucestershire Council to re-recruit its care team to deliver the services.
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