Extra tax could be a service saviour
IT smacks of double-tax, but I can’t help feeling Felixstowe’s new “community fund” is an excellent and inspired idea.
In a year’s time when savage cuts are biting hard into the activities, services and facilities we expect to see in our town, this pot of money may enable us to keep some of those we enjoy.
Councillors concede that even they cannot guess at some of those things which may be cut, and there may be many ways in which the money can be used.
For example, the fund may enable a lollipop warden on a dangerous road to stay in post, for maintenance of the Ferry jetty – our link with Bawdsey – to continue, threatened youth activities to stay, or some of our much-loved floral displays to be designed, created and watered.
It could be so many other activities, too, which will need an injection of cash to stop them disappearing.
I firmly believe the fund of �19,000 will not be enough.
I think the town council should have been braver and doubled it – and may regret not doing so.
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Putting up taxes though is unpopular.
No-one likes seeing their tax bills go up and the town council is going against the grain by raising its share of the council tax ten per cent when Suffolk Coastal and Suffolk County Council are freezing their portions.
But the town council element is peanuts.
Doubling the fund to �38,000 – serious money which could make a big difference – would have meant another four pence a week per household.
One keen town politics observer told me that would be too much at this time when food, gas, electricity and VAT are all going up. The straw that broke the camel’s back?
Really? Four pence!
You could find that on the pavement or down the back of the sofa. It’s just over one per cent of the cost of a pint in a pub, a fraction of a coffee in a caf�.
It could mean so much for services in our town – it’s money that would be spent in Felixstowe.
Arguments aside, the fund is being set up and it will be interesting to see how it is administered and used. Some quick decisions may need to be made after the council elections in May.
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? Read Richard Cornwell’s full column every week in FX – the eight-page pull-out all about the Felixstowe area in the Evening Star every Wednesday.