4 February, 2019
Blaenavon Town Council has voted to increase the precept it takes from local residents in order to maintain and improve the growing number of services it delivers in the community.
The precept is a local tax collected by Torfaen County Borough Council as part of the annual council tax bill. The decision means that the Town Council will receive £130,000 in the financial year 2019/20, with a rise of an average £17 per household per year to £66.91.
The precept breakdown based on Band D properties will cost households £5.58 per month or £1.29 a week. For Band A properties – which make up by far the biggest proportion of housing in Blaenavon, at 49.63% - it means an annual payment of £44.72, or £3.73 per month/ 86p per week.
No local council wants to increase the amount of money it asks for from residents,” said Mayor Cllr Gareth Davies. “However, in recent years we’ve returned that money to the community in the form of a range of local services and events that Torfaen Council would neither be able to afford nor have the human resources to deliver.”
The precept did not go up in the current financial year due to an accumulation of reserves. But with the drawing-up of a Business Plan by recently appointed Clerk Kevin Warren in early 2018, the Council have identified new priorities and is currently working on a number of important projects and regeneration initiatives.
These include funding for:
• The Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Project, which is supporting the refurbishment of town centre buildings
• Major improvements to the Workmen’s Hall
• World Heritage Day
• The annual Remembrance Day Parade
• World War I memorial benches
• Christmas lights
• A set of defibrillators based at a number of locations across the town
• Annual grants and individual donations to local organisations such as Busy Bees Nursery
The total amount spent by the Council so far this financial year is £108,000 - £50,642 of which has been on projects, the largest sum being £10,000 each on both the Workmen’s Hall cinema seating and World Heritage Day.
A further £48,500 was spent on match funding and regeneration initiatives - £10,000 of which on the Townscape Heritage Project; and £9,185 on grants and ordinary donations, £2,500 of which went to Torfaen Play Service.
“The regeneration awards we’ve made, in particular, have attracted almost £2m of matchfunding,” Cllr Davies added. “Without our contributions, it’s very unlikely that this extra money would have been found, and much-loved heritage buildings like the Workmen’s Hall and Bethlehem Chapel would have struggled to receive investment.
“If we didn’t have this rise in income, a number of events and some services would have to be reduced or scrapped, such as our very popular intergenerational project and the school holidays swimming initiative.
“We’re so pleased with the progress we’ve made over the past two years and we want to keep that momentum going. We hope the townspeople agree that this is a positive direction for the Council and community.”