Cllr Martin Craddock reports............
Newsletter from Chairman of Maresfield Parish Council
As I mentioned in my November Newsletter, the Parish Council has started to consider its budget for the next financial year and the amount of the Parish Precept (a small part of your Council Tax) which flows from this budget setting process. Last year the Precept was increased by £16 for the year for a band D (the average) Council Tax payer to raise funds of £30,000 for the Parish to spend on community projects such as those relating to road safety and speed calming which East Sussex County Council will not fund.
The County Council raised its part of the Council Tax by £24 for a band D payer but still has to make substantial cutbacks because its Government grant was significantly reduced. For the coming year the County is likely to raise its part of the Council Tax by a further £24 and its government grant is being reduced again. Neither of these Tax increases by County benefits our Parish - except possibly to reduce slightly the impact of County's cuts.
Following the discussion at the recent Finance Committee meeting it seems that the Parish Council essentially has two choices: either to reduce its Precept so that it does not raise any project money next year, or to leave the Precept unchanged so that £30,000 project funds are raised next year to give a total fund of £60,000.
Relevant points are that the Parish project fund will be spent solely in the Parish, traffic calming and road safety schemes are costly and they do unfortunately often take considerable time to plan and gain the appropriate approvals.
You have the opportunity to give your views during the public part of our next Finance Committee meeting in Nutley on Thursday 3rd December or at the full Parish Council meeting on 15th December in Fairwarp. Please advise the Clerk (714555) if you will be attending so that suitable arrangements can be made.
Once again I make no apologies for the usual reminder that we still have vacancies for Councillors on the Parish Council and the Clerk and I would welcome inquiries from anyone who would like to know more about how they might fulfil this valued community role. And please do look at the Council's web site - www.maresfieldparish.org.uk - which records information about the Council, its members and numerous documents including minutes of Council and Committee meetings.
In conclusion may I on behalf of our Parish Council and the Clerk wish all the residents of our Parish a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
Martin Craddock - Chairman of Maresfield Parish Council