FACED with the cost of possible referendums if they try to raise extra cash in future, a village’s community leaders have agreed to raise the council tax for the first time in three years.

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Parish councillors in Trimley St Mary faced a real dilemma – reluctant to impose higher bills on struggling residents, but knowing their own costs will rise and there may be little they can do, except do less for their community.

Chairman Colin Jacobs said the government was still considering proposals to force councils to hold a referendum in future if they wanted to raise their council tax. The council would then have to increase the precept to cover the extra income it needed plus the cost of the referendum, around £1,500.

“We really don’t know what is going to happen in the next two years – grant subsidies could change or end, referendums might come in,” said Mr Jacobs.

“I am loath to increase the precept – personally I don’t want to pay more for anything and I know how residents will feel – but I am concerned about what might happen to our finances in future if we don’t. Mr Cameron has the sword of Damocles hanging over us.”

Councillor Mary Dixon said: “There are folk in the village who are finding with everything increasing that bills are harder and harder to pay and so we need to look at whether we can justify a rise.”

The parish council, which had pegged its tax at £32,000 for the past two years, agreed to a precept of £33,000 – a £1,000 rise – for 2013-14.

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