Town council on track to clear budget deficit a year early

Published on: 20 Dec 2017

Filton Town Council is set to return to safe levels of cash reserves a year early after several years of budget problems which at one time saw the authority with as little as £21,000 for emergencies.

A  large part of the success has been attributed to the leisure centre's programme of swimming lessons which sees huge numbers of local children taught at the Elm Park pool throughout the year, along with cost cutting measures by both councillors and the council staff.

Accountant Derek Kemp told the full council meeting that the council had was heading for a surplus in its budget for this year by £20,000 more than expected.

This should take the council to reserves of around £165,000 by the end of this financial year, 12 months ahead of expected.

Councillors were also told that a 2.95% increase in the town council precept was being recommended although this figure will remain uncertain until the council is told how much money they will receive from South Glos Council. Councillors said they had seen this amount drop considerably in recent years due to austerity measures.

This rise will mean around £6 a year more for the average Band D property owner for the town council element. There will be a further rise likely for the South Glos element.

Cllr Ian Scott, chair of Filton Town Council Finance Committee, said: "I am delighted that there has been a dramatic improvement in the General Reserve Fund as a result of the excellent work by Filton Town Council staff to maximise income and minimise expenditure. We are on track to get the general reserve fund to the required minimum and we may reach the target a year earlier than planned."

Mr Kemp said: This is a far better message than we had three years ago."

The council had identified problems back in 2015 when Mr Kemp told councillors that salaries and staffing structures were out of line with budgets, especially the rosters in the swimming pool, while income was falling short of council budgets.

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