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Local Talkback
Talkback is for the residents and businesses in Liphook to voice their views and opinions about local issues and events.

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Parish Council Tax Rise
- Concerned Taxpayer (17th Mar 2017  15:48:31)

Having just received the council tax demand for 2017-8 I note that the Parish council has increased the total precept over the last two year by a stunning 26.4%, the precept in 2015/6 was £274,016 whilst for this 2017/8 is a total of £346,496. These figures are taken from the Council tax bills of the year.
By any stretch of the imagination this is a massive increase when inflation is running at a very low rate.
There is no explanation sent out with the council tax demand. I think that we need some better information and explanation than it is the cost of the neighbourhood plan, pension auto enrolment and general inflation, as stated in the Finance and Policy Committee minutes of the meeting held on the 15th March.
I am aware of the history of unwarranted expenditure by the council in the past, the Clerk Affair, the Willows nursery and now the Neighbourhood plan.
The parish council has by over 4 times a greater increase than any other item on the Council bill, EHDC has even managed to reduce their precept.
What is going on? I think that the council tax payers in Liphook are owed an explanation.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Ray (17th Mar 2017  16:57:07)

The Parish Annual Meeting is on 27th March at the Millennium hall.
This is our chance to question Councillors on this matter.
The quote is, "it's only £10 a month on a band D property" that is from the Chair of the F&P Committee!
I bet you don't get an answer!!?
,

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- nick (17th Mar 2017  19:05:11)

am in f band total increase from last year is £108
I agree about the tax EDH have reduced their requirement by 2.6% this year and 2.0% last year I see new Charge Hampshire Adult Social Care £76
I think if you read the pc minutes it will tell you that the money is needed for upkeep and Parish plan, not very clear
Cant understand about money required for the millennium hall tho thought this was budgeted yearly seems it needs a lot of money to repair it

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Andrew (17th Mar 2017  19:34:50)

Surely the extra income from all the new homes in the village should offset the need to increase the Council Tax. I cannot see any sign of expenditure towards extra facilities in Liphook to help with the increase in the local population so what happens to that extra revenue?

How many new homes have been built around the Village Green and in Silent Garden recently? They all have to pay Council Tax.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Irene (18th Mar 2017  20:19:37)

Having just received my council tax i find an increase of 13.6% for bramshott and liphook parish council can i ask what this increase is going to be used for is it going to be used to improve public transport or better shops or to improve roads all of which we need i doubt it look forward to knowing what it will be used for.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Ray (18th Mar 2017  21:52:42)

As stated at the recent meeting of the Parish Council, this increase is to fund the Neighbourhood fund an extra £35,000. Bearing in mind that when/if the NP comes into effect the Council will increase its CIL from every new home built in the Parish from £1,000 to £2,000. We will not get a rebate! Don't forget the Annual meeting, to ask the questions!

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Lucy (19th Mar 2017  11:03:08)

Sadly Ray the CIL is not given for every new home built in the village, no CIL is paid on social housing, or housing which is not 100 percent free market housing, eg if there is a split deal with the developer to encourage first time buyer ownership. For example if a developer offers a share in the freehold, 80 /20. There is also no CIL at all paid if a developer offers self build plots to individuals, so no advantage to the Parish or local authority would come from up to at least 40 percent of all new homes built.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- liz (20th Mar 2017  11:21:07)

So 40% of housing built in the Parish is social housing, shared freehold or self build? Is that correct?

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Lucy (20th Mar 2017  17:38:20)

If it is the case of looking at a very large estate being built, that 40 per cent would probably be the maximum ratio of non - market housing. overall in the district. that would not be the percentage, due to smaller housing sites being built which do not have a requirement for non market housing. I was just making people aware that the CIL return will not come from every new house or flat built.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- liz (21st Mar 2017  09:39:32)

So it will come from well over 60% of them, probably more. That's quite a fair sum income bearing in mind the number of houses being built in the Parish.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Concerned Ratepayer (21st Mar 2017  13:44:05)

If the payback is going to be so good, why did they not use the reserves instead charging us this massive increase in tax

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- JJ (21st Mar 2017  17:19:20)

Every year the district council charge households the council tax. A percentage of that comes back to the parish council. I think this year's rise is to help pay for the Neighbourhood Plan. Council tax is different to CIL.

CIL is charged on each new house built (only market ones not affordable ones) as a one off payment. That money goes to District too. Only a small percentage of CIL is available to the parish council. It has to be claimed back for community projects.


Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Dawn Hoskins (21st Mar 2017  17:48:43)

Do you know, the Parish Council have monthly meetings which explain every decision and debate they have had.

That is only 12 meetings a year you'd have to attend in order to know all of the answers you ever wanted to know about the ins and outs of parish life.

Out of the 8,000 or so possible attendees - about 4 go to each meeting.

Instead of going to an annual meeting with no knowledge about what has happened over the year - how about taking an interest throughout the 12 months prior - and having an input into the actual decision making?

Simple.



Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- nicola (21st Mar 2017  20:29:51)

No No Dawn, i don't buy that argument regarding parish council meetings at all. In a time of financial austerity and careful budgeting for most parish households. Why are the Parish council looking for such a huge increase. To fund a neighborhood plan with unknown cost implications and very dubious benefits, To improve the millennium Hall entrance, surely by now this facility should be self funding, after all it was built F.O.C courtesy of Sainsburys. The disbelief is about how 'local' Councillors can be so out of touch with their local community. We are in a period of austerity for what ever reason and therefore for elected Councillors to take such a glib view of increases beggars belief. EHDC can do wonders with their budget, The police and County Council can control their expenses so why can't parish Councillors and now for a second time 26% increase come on....
Especially when the Parish council reserves are well in excess of the guidelines for holding a minimum of 25 to 50% of the annual parish Precept.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Concerned Ratepayer (21st Mar 2017  22:07:29)

Dawn, I do not see why it is at all necessary to go to the monthly meetings. Surely the onus is on the Parish Council to communicate with the ratepayers the reasons for this increase.
We have received absolutely nothing from the parish Council as to why a 13% increase when they actually increased their reserves with the 10% increase they had imposed last year.
It would be nice to see a breakdown budget for where the precept goes, after all it is not rapidly approaching the EHDC portion.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Dawn Hoskins (22nd Mar 2017  00:21:23)

Nicola and concerned,
You misunderstand my comment. I am saying that if you went to the meetings you would have a thorough understanding of what needs to be paid for and what the precept is and what works are in the pipeline etc.

You would be able to answer all of the questions posted here as you would already have the knowledge and seen the debate on the issues over the course of the year.

The financial information is published every month so everyone can see what is being spent on which items etc - this is voted on at the finance and policy meetings.

I am not trying to antagonise - I am trying to explain how you become better informed.

The people of this parish are entirely detached from the procedure and detached from the parish council as a whole - it is not surprising that every decision made is a surprise - as no one attends. If people attended - they would have all the up-to-date information on every aspect of the running of the parish council and would therefore not be surprised by any announcements. also, you are physically present and can ask questions and raise queries and get the whole council to understand where you are coming from.

they do publish minutes every month, and a meeting agenda every month - but it is never as comprehensive as hearing the meeting verbatim.

It is no good being upset only once a year - you need to be engaged for the whole 12 months during the year - you may find that you are upset every month - or alternatively you may find that you are pleased each month with the decisions that have been made and the reasons behind them. However, latching the door after the horse has bolted does no good. The budget would have been debated at the finance and policy meeting months ago, so complaining about it after the event is just going to make noise - but not change the outcome.

You are right that it is the responsibility of the parish council to communicate - and they do publish the agendas and minutes on the website and every notice board in the village. However, some responsibility has to be borne by individuals living in the parish as well.

If you want to actively participate and debate the issues - you have to be present BEFORE the decision is voted on.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- liz (22nd Mar 2017  09:34:49)

Very good comments by 'Concerned ratepayer'. No clear reasons for the substantial increase. Many are not able to attend the meetings and some clarity would be very helpful.

As Dawn says the decisions were made some time ago so we have to trawl back through the Minutes. The PC website is not the most helpful. Tried some searches in the appropriate box on the PC homepage and got Google ads! Perhaps a link to the appropriate Minutes on this website?

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Ray (22nd Mar 2017  10:00:32)

Thanks Dawn for that. However, a question was asked at the F&P meeting regarding the rise, only to be told it is for the Neighbourhood Plan, when questioned as to why money from reserves should [not] be used as this is where the CIL money will go, told the Council has to keep the reserves.

On asking the same question at the PC meeting following, told it would be dealt with under the agenda item.

Got to the item, details given and a statement from the Councillor giving it, he will not have any questions from the Public!

So what do we do now?

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Sue (22nd Mar 2017  13:29:35)

I thought the Neighbourhood Plan had been abandoned due to a "flawed process" see Thread Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Kat (22nd Mar 2017  16:07:22)

Nicola, I share your views completely about financial austerity. We have all been tightening our belts over a number of years and for some of us every penny counts. Our Councillors, who we elected, must be on a different wavelength.

There are Financial Statements on their website but they are not easy to find. If anybody wants to see them you go to “Council” on the front page, under it in the drop down menu is “Publication Scheme”. Click on that, and it brings you to a page with a list. Go to “Class 2” and you will find lots of finance information there. I hope that helps people.

Here are some interesting figures I have found from the Statements and other info:

Precept 2010 - £195,975, Precept 2017 - £334,765 an increase of 70%, yes 70%!

Budget 2010 - £323,545, Budget 2017 - £435,446 an increase of 34%!

On 31st March 2016, the General Reserve showed as £102,508 having had £36,255 put into it at the end of the year! They also put £38,500 into Earmarked Reserves which shows as £163,616! Surely they could have used some of the £74,755 rather than increasing council tax so much again! In my mind, a triple whammy. They are over budgeting, under spending, and hitting the taxpayer with tax increases all at the same time.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- Nicola (22nd Mar 2017  20:48:46)

Exactly Kat,
I in the course of my work encounter many elderly people some of whom talked positively earlier of a £4.00 a week increase in their income this year, This week i visited two who were totally distraught because the council tax rise and electricity price increases had already absorbed that.
For what i ask ? £45000 for a new entrance to the millennium hall and a neighborhood plan that seems to be a money pit, paying consultants who can't seem to provide an accurate cost of their service. If the parish council are so confident that it is a sure fire plan then use the mounting reserves to fund it. Surely their confidence will mean that any monies raised from its augmentation can be returned to the cash reserves in preparation for the emergency crisis that they seem convinced will befall us.
I here what Dawn says about 'bolting the stable door etc.' to be honest until the council tax bill arrived i couldn't believe that a local organisation could be so crass as to opt for these items when everyone is feeling the pinch in these difficult times. For a parish council to even consider such large increases for such meaningless projects when the Police, the Health service, social care and so on fight hard to control their budgets in extremely challenging times and especially when EHDC clearly show what can be achieved is frankly appalling.
Then to hide behind 'well you could have come along and said something' seems incredible. As Ray said even when people do raise concerns the parish council seem to turn a blind eye.
This aside, what we want to see is common sense, not everyone has money to burn and if we are having to rein in our expenses then so should the Parish council, Remember we give our council tax funds to budget for local projects and services, not to rest in a bank somewhere. Electricity and Gas suppliers were recently criticized for taking direct debit monies in excess of the customers fuel usage and thereby building huge credits, surely this is what Liphook and District Parish council are doing. It's our money they are holding.

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- KT (22nd Mar 2017  23:02:30)

How about some perspective here folks! It's actually an increase of £10 per YEAR on a band D household...that's about 20p per week. Not a lot to pay for a neighbourhood plan that could bring in thousands!

Re: Parish Council Tax Rise
- M (23rd Mar 2017  07:19:09)

Well I live in a two bed and mine is an extra five pounds a month do I can't see how yours is ten pounds a year? Think u got that wrong

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