Cramlington Town Council to freeze council tax
February 12, 2021
Cramlington Town Council has agreed to freeze its precept for the next financial year beginning in April.
The precept funds town council services and is collected as part of the County Council’s wider council tax bill.
Cramlington has a lower precept than neighbouring town and community councils with an annual charge of £113 for properties in council tax
Town and County Councillor Wayne Daley supported the proposal to freeze the precept: “As local representatives we have to appreciate that the last year many Cramlington residents have been hit hard financially and we, as local representatives, have to do all we can to ease the pressures faced by many families. So, we’ve taken some tough decisions but for the right reasons.”
But despite maintaining the precept at its current level the Town Council will be undertaking some important projects over the coming year. These will include:
• Spending £200,000 on refurbishing playgrounds and providing a brand-new playground at Alexandra Park.
• Providing a new outdoor gym at Horton Park; this will be a pilot scheme and may lead to similar provision elsewhere in the town.
• Taking ownership of the Eastfield Pavilion with plans for its refurbishment and extension for community and sports use.
• Developing a Covid recovery plan to support communities badly hit by the pandemic.
This has been made possible by identifying significant savings in the town council’s budget.
The key saving has been to dis-continue the arrangement with the County Council to provide enhanced environmental maintenance. In future the County Council will continue to be responsible for grass-cutting and general maintenance whilst the Town Council’s new in-house team will take on floral planting and other services to enhance County Council provision.
This has realised an overall annual saving of over £160,000 which is available for new schemes.
Councillor Mark Swinburn who is Chairman of the Town Council’s Services Committee stressed: “Although we have made major savings, service quality will not be affected. On the contrary, we expect major improvements to be made and having our own workforce will mean we
can respond more flexibly and effectively than before.”
Town Mayor, Loraine DeSimone explained that making these savings will allow the Town Council to continue to develop in a different direction: “In broad terms the emphasis of the work now undertaken by the Town Council is changing from mainly environmental to people-based initiatives.
Over the last 2 years the Town Council has steadily devoted greater resources to community and youth initiatives and the demands of the pandemic have accentuated this move away from more traditional patterns of spending. This will be crucial to local communities that have been most affected by the pandemic.”