‘Council tax precept rise unacceptable’

Kat Boettge.
Kat Boettge.

A Kimberley Town Council member has criticised a decision to raise the town’s council tax precept by 10 per cent, calling it “disgusting”.

Councillor Kat Boettge, who voted against the decision, said residents should not be forced to pay extra council tax as more than £30,000 of last year’s budget has not been spent.

She said councillors have approved a decision for the total precept to rise from £89,488 to £103,000.

Coun Boettge said: “In these uncertain financial times to just randomly increase council tax when you’ve underspent is disgusting and disrespectful to council tax payers and residents.“

Coun Boettge said the £31, 962.95 under-spend was due to the council not “fulfilling its commitments” .

She said projects such as creating a newsletter and repairs on the Stag Pavilion were not carried out as promised.

Figures from the councils budget proposal, which was agreed in February, show £800 was allocated to repair the Stag Pavilion, but none was spent, implying the work did not go ahead.

A total of £1,500 was allocated for advertising in the council 2016/17 budget, but just £85 was spent.

According to Coun Boettge, the money was meant to be spent on a newsletter, but it has not yet been published.

About £2,000 was also allocated for “youth issues” but none of this money was spent.

Ms Boettge said the figures “show how little the council has actually done and how little the council has supported the community”.

She said: “Some of the under-spending is okay and understandable and can be addressed by doing the projects in the following year; but what is unacceptable is they still increased council tax.”

Kimberley Town Council were contacted to comment on the allegations made by Ms Boettge but had not responded by the time the Advertiser went to press.