As the festive season is upon us and as the year draws to a close I thought I should bring you up to date with a few things that are going on in town.
Firstly we have now contracted to have the Town Hall portico repaired – work should start 4th January and last about two months – we are having to replace three of the lintels which hold up the portico and this will involve some delicate and complicated scaffolding and civil engineering due to the fact that the ground beneath the steps is in fact the cells/lower ground floor of the Town Hall i.e. a void space ….the total cost will be about £64000 and that includes the scaffolding and the removal and replacement of about 12 tons of stone – during this time there will be some curtailment of some parking spaces by the Town Hall for which I apologise but needs must !
Secondly – we have frozen discussions re a skate park for the moment as the overall response was Yes a skate park is a good idea but putting it at Greystones not so good – so we are have another think and will revert as soon as we have an answer.
Any skate park was only going to be possible by using the funds that the Chadlington Downs Farm development will bring to town – work has started and we hope the funds will be available by July at the latest i.e. when the first house is occupied – we are also looking at other projects and any sensible ideas about improving the leisure facilities around town will be welcome.
This brings me to the bad news of this message – namely that we will be increasing the precept again this year our budget figures are as follows
|Administration plus election expenses||£79,400|
|Grants to Voluntary Bodies||£15,000|
|Street scene, grit bins/snow, weeds, trees, bus shelters, notice boards, town centre railings etc.||£23,100|
|Contingency Fund (explanation below)||£50,000|
|Town Hall expenditure||£88,068|
|Greystones expenditure||£ 1,150|
|Closed churchyard||£ 2,600|
|Pool Meadow, Millennium garden & War Memorial||£ 3,500|
|Civic Functions||£ 2,750|
|Mayor’s Allowance||£ 2,500|
After a discussion at the council meeting on Monday 21st December the Town Council unanimously agreed to put up the precept by 11% this year – whilst we can repair the Town Hall without putting an extraordinary surcharge on the Town we do have to refill our reserves in case we have a similar problem down the road which we don’t know about – anyone with an old property will understand that we have to budget for the unforeseen. We are also being a little careful insofar as we hear about cuts that will be taking place from Oxford County Council but we have no idea what is going to be cut and what isn’t – whilst we know that CNTC cannot and will not fund any shortfall we might have to help some of the institutions of this town to ensure some sort of continuity of service and therefore we have created a £50,000 contingency fund – if this is not used then it will be used to improve other areas of town.
CNTC are sure that we will get a lot of negative flak from the local press however putting this into perspective on a Band E property this will equate to about £11.87 a year i.e. less than £1 a month and interestingly if you go back to 2007 when my personals records begin then the increase overtime has been from £62.36 a year to the probable £119 level which is a total of about 91% increase over the last 10 years but still less than £10 a month for a Band E property
– comparison with other towns still shows Chippy to be quite a reasonable town precept.
Finally let me wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Cllr Mike Tysoe
Mayor Chipping Norton 22.12.15