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Lyme Regis Town Council set proposals for new budget
FREEZING the council tax, increasing grants to Lyme Regis organisations, and maintaining parking rates are all among the proposals as the town council sets its budget.
Lyme Regis town clerk Mike Lewis and Coun Mark Gage, chairman of the strategy and policy committee, put forward their proposals for 2013/14 in the budget strategy report, presented to councillors recently.
Coun Gage said: “This isn’t an overly ambitious budget, it’s about consolidating some of the work we started last year and put us in a position to take on board some of the challenges that the council is going to be facing over the coming years.”
Lyme Regis Town Council is expected to freeze its precept for a third year running.
Their report said: “At a time of continuing financial hardship for many in our community it is right that the council plays whatever small part it can in reducing the pressure upon them.”
The precept will contribute £130,340 to the town council’s budget and means an average Band D property will pay £64.06 for the authority’s services.
Mr Lewis and Coun Gage warned that the council would need to reduce its contribution to major capital projects in order to boost its general reserves, which have been seriously depleted in the 2012/13 budget.
They said this is due to the money spent on the Marine Parade Shelters regeneration and the growing pressure on the visitor economy.
They proposed reducing their contributions to capital projects and the council’s own reserves, which currently stand at £101,000.
Coun Daryl Turner said: “I’m concerned that we’re not going to put any more money into our reserves. That really is a tiny amount, the smallest we have ever had.”
Mr Lewis and Coun Gage suggested freezing parking charges and prices for the mini golf, putting green and table tennis.
They said: “Visitor-dependent revenue can no longer be taken for granted and the charging structure therefore needs to remain competitive.”
They recommended that the council helps local organisations by increasing its annual grants budget in line withthe retail price index – a measure of inflation.
They said it was ‘vital’ that the council continues its support of the local area partnership LymeForward – especially as Dorset County Council has now withdrawn its funding – by increasing its annual funding from £10,000 to £13,500.
Also factored into next year’s budget is a proposal to buy 10 more beach huts for the Cart Road, five of which would be sold and the other five rented out.
Coun Gage said the council should review the way it deals with beach huts to ensure they are accessible to local people. It was suggested that the huts could be placed in two tiers.
There are also plans for the council to take over some land from Magna Housing Association behind Jordan Flats and develop it into 10 allotments.