Thursday, November 12, 2009

Less Tax! NOT more new facilities.

In April 2011, the new development at Love's Farm will be annexed by St Neots Town Council. At the same time the Town Ward of Eynesbury Hardwicke (gray shaded area in the picture) will also be annexed. Other designated development land to the east of the railway bounded by the A428 will also be annexed. St Neots will lose some land west of the A1 to Hail Weston and parts of Skipper Way development will be annexed by Little Paxton.

Currently St Neots has a council tax base of 9178. On current figures Love's Farm will add at least 100 to the council tax base. Eynesbury Hardwicke will add roughly 700. The loss of Skipper Way will lose roughly 100. So when SNTC finally gets to add this to the Council Tax base this could mean a bonanza of at least an extra £61,000 a year to the Town Council coffers. As Love's Farm gets larger this may add another 800 to the council tax base. So a potential £70,000 pa extra. That is without including any housing developments to the south of Cambridge Road.

The question is what should the Town Council do with this annual bonanza? The temptation is to spend all this money on "something". I'm sure there is a list of things the Town Council will want to do with the money. The list will get longer as Town Councillors have more ideas. The Town Council has shown a lack of financial discipline over the ECC and moving Grounds Maintenance in-house.

In the Forward Plan it says:
c. Loves Farm Community Centre
The Council has been approached by the District Council to assume responsibility for the future Loves Farm Community Centre. Land will be made available and some £350,000 will be transferred to provide a suitable building. However, that sum will be insufficient to provide a suitable building.

This means SNTC is already planning to take out another loan to pay for facilities we don't necessarily need. But these residents are paying substantially below what the rest of St Neots are paying.

In St Neots we currently pay band D = £87.55.
In Love's Farm they pay band D = £16.95.
In Eynesbury Hardwicke they don't pay anything towards their Parish Council. So ALL bands = £0
(It will be a shock for these residents when their Council Tax bill will go up to SNTC levels in April 2011.)

I think it is wrong that St Neots residents will potentially have to pay towards new facilities for our new residents. Both Love's Farm and Eynesbury Hardwicke residents pay little or nothing currently to their Parish Councils. If these facilities are needed then a dowry should be paid with the residents. In Love's Farm there is land and £350,000 for a building and that should be it. Build the facility for £350,000 and no more! I feel this bonanza should be used solely for reducing the Council Tax for the whole of the new St Neots.

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