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Queen's jubilee to hit residents hard

PUBLISHED: 22:48 14 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

VILLAGERS are facing a rise of six times the level of inflation in part of their council tax bills - to pay for the celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

VILLAGERS are facing a rise of six times the level of inflation in part of their council tax bills – to pay for the celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Parish councillors at Trimley St Mary have decided to impose a 12 per cent rate rise on their community to fund a special commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II's 50 years on the throne.

It will mean that the parish part of the council tax bill for householders has risen by 44pc in just five years.

Previously the council was so frugal that it pegged the rate for 11 years and the only time it tampered with the tax in the previous decade was to lower it.

Although they have not decided yet what special event might be held or project carried out as a Golden Jubilee memorial, councillors have allocated £2,000 in their budget in readiness.

Parish clerk George Harlow had suggested raising the parish precept from £17,850 to £18,250 – a 2.2pc increase, just ahead of inflation.

But Nigel Bantoft proposed that £2,000 should be set aside for a Golden Jubilee memorial and councillors agreed to set a budget of £20,000.

It will mean an average band D household paying £16.26 for the activities of Trimley St Mary Parish Council in addition to tax to Suffolk Coastal, the county council and police authority.

Mr Bantoft said: "I think we should put aside some money for a Golden Jubilee project because this is an opportunity to provide something for the community to enhance the village.

"We don't know what that project might be and we need to come up with ideas and discuss it, but if we don't have the money, we will not be able to do it."

Councillors agreed to set aside £5,500 for general parish purposes so that other projects could always be done or unexpected bills be accounted for, and £3,000 instead of £1,000 for the maintenance of Stennetts Memorial Playing Field.

The council was told that £1,000 was only now enough to pay for the grass cutting of the field – used for football matches, cricket and informally for recreation – and allowed little extra for much-needed work on the pitches.

A sum of £3,000 would be enough to maintain it this year and allow part of the area to be top-dressed and verti-drained to stop the grass sinking and the field becoming muddy, but thousands more still needed to be spent in future.

Councillors have faced a dilemma over the precept for the council tax in recent years, wanting to increase their funds to carry out special projects to improve the village but desperate to keep the tax as low as possible.

Their tax is still very low compared with other parishes in the district.

Council vice chairman Hazel Blackshaw said the council had always tried to set "a reasonable limit" on its spending and appraise it year on year. Extra spending needed to be justified.

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