Precept held at current level

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Monday night's Audlem ParishCouncil meeting concentrated on the parish's finances and the budget for 2014/15, including the precept, or level of taxation per household to cover parish council expenditure, to be set for next year.

The parish finance officer, John Kemble, was vehement in his view that the longterm financial prospects would be fine providing the precept is maintained at its present level (currently bringing in £37,529 each year).

His main fear is that if the precept is reduced, then it will be very difficult to increase it again, and with the projected take over of services and assets from Cheshire East, these funds may be necessary.

Other views expressed by some parish councillors were that £2,290 (last year) and £2,633 (this year) could be returned to Audlem ratepayers since these are amounts contributed by Cheshire East which have not been used to reduce the precept.

It was pointed out that the number of households paying the precept has fallen, so that it was calculated that the individual charge to households would have to rise 2.8% just to keep the total precept at its present level.

Other views were that the actual amount paid by a band D household is around £40 a year, and that the various changes suggested would amount to 50p a month at most.

After discussion a vote was taken and the majority decision was to maintain the precept at its current level.

Editor — It must be emphasised that all this only affects the relatively small part (less than 3%) of the total Council Tax bill that households pay.

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