Council tax is frozen for third time

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BANBURY Town Council has frozen its council tax demand for the third successive year.

At its Budget meeting yesterday (Tuesday), councillors agreed unanimously to proposals which will see the precept for a band D property for 2013/14 remaining at £122.12 a year, which is the same as 2010.

Councillor Kieron Mallon, leader of the council, said: “Changes by central government under its localism scheme that changes the way council tax benefit is paid have not affected us this year - but will present a challenge in 2014/15 with a shortfall of at least £35,000.

“The changes mean that people on benefits who received payments to enable them to pay council tax will in future be exempt from council tax. The council will therefore collect less tax.”

Key points at the meeting included earmarking funds for capital projects. Moorfields Park in Grimsbury is set to be the seventh park in Banbury to receive a makeover in the last five years, with the council looking to spend £140,000. St Mary’s Churchyard in Horse Fair will also be improved, with £15,000 being set aside to make the area safer and replace broken or missing granite cobbles.

Councillor Mallon said: “Around £175,000 savings on the current town hall refurbishment will go to other services. £150,000 will go to parks and open spaces for improvement and maintenance, and an additional £20,000 will be spent on salt bins - triple last year’s budget.“Other gains include £15,000 from an increase in income after a marketing campaign saw more team hiring out our football pitches.”