Council tax hike for police officer

RESIDENTS will see their local council tax precept rise by nearly 20 per cent next financial year - after provision was made to help fund a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Taxes to rise to help fund police officer

WOODBRIDGE: Residents will see their local council tax precept rise by nearly 20 per cent next financial year - after provision was made to help fund a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Following a vote of 10 in favour and three against Woodbridge Town Council's budget for 2010/11 was set at �247,736, an increase of 19.86 per cent that equates to �76.91 on a Band D property.

The figure includes �14,000 to help part fund a PCSO - a sum that will be matched by Suffolk Constabulary.

But some councillors felt the town council should not spend its money on something that should be provided by another authority.

Mayor Les Binns cast the deciding vote in favour but it was made clear members would need a guarantee the PCSO would be used specifically for the people of Woodbridge.

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Cliff Cocker told the meeting on Tuesday night that he did not support the proposal but added: “If we go down the road of paying for a PCSO we want to make absolutely sure the tasking of that officer will be 100 per cent for the area within the ancient boundaries of Woodbridge.

“I am not concerned about what Melton, Martlesham or Kesgrave do. If we are going to pay for it we need his or her feet on the pavements of Woodbridge.”

Nigel Barratt said when an agreement for a PCSO is drawn up with Suffolk Constabulary then it should come before the town council for approval.

“I personally don't want to be paying for things that are not our responsibility but at the same time we have to be pragmatic,” he said. “The police budget is likely to be cut next year and the number of officers covering this area is likely to reduce.

“If we do agree to go for it there will be the need for a service level agreement. We have to use that agreement to protect our position.”

Among other items the budget also includes enough money to carry out maintenance work at buildings in Elmhurst Park and Kingston Field and of the recently restored war memorial. A sum of �1,500 has also been set aside for a youth forum and �750 for a new town notice board.

Do you think town or parish council's should help fund its own PCSO's? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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