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Town council precept up as more "local" services taken on

Created on 31/01/2017 @ 16:52
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A range of public services, including the Newtown Day Care Centre, are to be saved from the axe by Newtown Town Council, but it will mean you paying more Council Tax.

Town councillors have agreed to increase the council’s element of the Council Tax for an average Band D property to £126.68 from April, an increase of £48.39 a year. That works out at £2.44 toward the final Council Tax that will include the town council, Dyfed Powys Police and Powys County Council precepts.

However, there is good news behind the additional cost. Some services threatened by cutbacks at Powys County Council will now be saved by the town council, although the actual precept from the county council won’t go down as a result of it transferring the services and costs.

Perhaps one of the significant ones is news that the town council will contribute £50,000 towards the Park Street Day Centre towards activities for older people. The centre was threatened with closure but given a 12 month reprieve by the county council while a review is undertaken.

The council unanimously resolved to contribute the money for 2017-18. has agreed in return to contribute and maintain a 5 day a week service for 2017-18. During the next year both Councils will work together to plan a sustainable future for the service with the agreed aim of transferring the service to NTLC by March 2018 if an agreement can be reached. 

The Mayor, Cllr Richard Edwards, said “At the public meeting at the library in October I, and other Town Councillors, said we would work hard to find a way to protect the services, while still recognising that change was necessary. The deal we have got with PCC allows us to do exactly that.”

Other financial commitments in its 2017/2018 budget include £30,000 to transfer 116 acres of land from Powys County Council to Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and with the vision of transforming the area into a riverside park. 

The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to fund the Newtown Food Festival, the flagship event that will be held on 2 and 3 September 2017, and the Winter Festival including an investment of £25,000 for new Christmas lights for the town. 

The Town Council will also continue to fund the three school crossing patrols at Treowen, Penygloddfa, Ladywell and Hafren schools.The council will fund the full cost of these three crossing patrols at just over £7,000. 

It will provide Newtown Community Fund grants of £23,000 to community groups and events in Newtown such as the town carnival and the Leaping Lights River Festival, also to support Newtown Citizens Advice to continue to provide its current services specifically for Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn. 

A further £10,000 is in the budget to provide toilet facilities at Gravel and Back Lane car parks. 
Other services and projects include; canal restoration, to continue to work towards restoration on the canal to Newtown; a defibrillator cost and installation for the centre of town, Tourist Information Centre, the Robert Owen Museum, the town clock, town centre flower beds, picnic benches, playparks, the Tuesday market and more.

The Mayor of the Council, Cllr Richard Edwards, told councillors at this evening’s Full Council meeting “This council has spent several years getting to a point where should we need to step in and help protect, preserve and improve services in Newtown now we have the ability to do so. This council aims to be an enabling council, and we believe the solutions to our problems can be found right here in our community. The Town Council will, through trusted leadership, help provide a community and town which is sustainable, prosperous, resilient and with a strong sense of identity in which people choose to live, learn, work and to visit.” 

Cllr David Selby, Chair of the Resources Committee, said: “There are cuts in funding throughout local government. We have experienced reduced funding from Powys County Council at the same time as they are reducing funding for services in our town. Newtown Town Council is working to provide efficient local services and invest in the future.” 

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