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Rise kept to a minimum

Two shiny pennies.

Farnham Town Council has agreed to limit its share of the council tax to just over two pence per week for a Band D household.

The modest increase will see the Council’s precept set at £1,035,819 for 2017/18. The money collected from Farnham taxpayers will go towards funding services, which include the management of cemeteries, the maintenance of allotment sites, the provision of CCTV, the organisation of a series of events for residents and visitors and the enhancement of the environment in general.

The rise will also allow for a £10,000 increase in the provision for grants for services provided by the voluntary and community sector. This includes the Farnham Hoppa service, which supports vulnerable elderly and other residents with a dial-a-ride service. In addition, a sum has been included to allow the Town Council to support or take on responsibility for services currently provided by Waverley Borough Council or Surrey County Council.

Speaking at the Full Council meeting on Thursday (26 January), Leader of the Council, Councillor Carole Cockburn said: “Financial pressures have seen a paring back of a number of services at county and district level so that year on year savings could be made. Farnham Town Council has taken a proactive approach and has offered to take on additional services or to provide a top-up service, where residents have raised concerns about the existing service provision.

“We are always mindful of the pressures on the finances of our residents and we do what we can to raise revenue from our services and from sponsorship. We are very grateful to a large number of local businesses who support the costs of organising events and projects such as Farnham in Bloom. We are also indebted to volunteers across Farnham who give thousands of hours each year to make Farnham a better place for all.”

Councillor Cockburn added: “Over the last year, Farnham Town Council has continued to make efficiency savings by renegotiating prices for contracts and by seeking to get more for the same. This process will continue and has allowed a number of inflationary pressures to be absorbed from within our existing budgets.”

Farnham Town Council is keen to deliver better value for money locally and respond promptly to issues raised by residents. This has included taking responsibility for elements of environmental work on behalf of Surrey County Council and increased cleaning in the town centre to enhance what is done by Waverley Borough Council.

Councillor Cockburn says: “We know from feedback from residents that they care passionately about the state of our streets. Farnham Town Council would very much like to take on the town centre street cleaning contract as we believe we could deliver better value for taxpayers and a more responsive service. This is an area we hope to explore further in the next year.”

In 2017/18, the cost for Farnham Town Council services for a Band D property will be £61.03 per annum, just £1.17 a week. Council tax bills for 2017/18 will be received by households during the next few weeks.

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