REDUCED incomes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic means that Woodley Town Council is planning to increase its council tax precept.
The charge, added to residents bills, helps fund services run by the town council. It is usually offset by fees for, among other things, room hire of the Oakwood Centre.
Last year, the town council had budgeted for an income of £762,287, but it is estimated that it will be just £270,383.
Last autumn, it canvassed views of residents to see what rise they would accept.
One-in-five households responded, saying that a rise of at least 20% would be acceptable – 43p per week. And 42.5% felt £1.09, the highest band suggested, would be OK.
Earlier this month, Woodley Town Council agreed to increase the precept by £6.79 per month – 56p per month. The annual figure will be £119.65 for a Band D council tax property.
The council’s precept level for the year is £1,293,034, an increase of £89,846 on last year. The shortfall between the residents’ increase will be £111,414, and come from its general reserves.
Cllr Keith Baker said: “This pandemic has caused huge financial stresses for the Town Council
“We responded to these financial challenges by asking local residents how much of an increase in the Town Council Tax they could accept.
“Unprecedented across the borough, we received a response from one in five households and I would like to thank those who took part.
“95.5% of the respondents accepted the lowest increase option, however, the Council has been able to keep the increase to less than a third of this at only 56p per month.”