Waiting game to find out Filton precept

December 13 2020
Waiting game to find out Filton precept

Last year, amidst severe budget pressure, the precept went up by 35%, thought to be one of the highest rises in England.

Filton residents will need to wait until January before they find out the amount they must pay for the local‘precept’ - the part of council tax which funds the town council.

Filton residents already pay the highest precept in South Glos, mainly due to the costs associated with the swimming pool at Elm Park.
A meeting of the council’s finance committee in November heard from accountant Derek Kemp who said that a year of upheaval due to the pandemic as well as possible big changes ahead meant it was impossible to make projections yet. He added that he is also waiting for figures from South Glos which will likely show that the‘tax base’ - those households which pay full council tax - is likely to drop due to support given if individual circumstances have changed, such as unemployment.
Mr Kemp said he had made projections based on the situation when the leisure centre reopened in the summer but since then we have had the November lockdown.
He said: “Projections are difficult. My crystal ball is no better than anyone else’s.”
The town council is currently well advanced in discussions which could bring in an outside operator to run the swimming pool and sports centre, changing the financial responsibility for the facilities.
Cllr Chris Wood asked Mr Kemp about the Ratepayers bar, which he said was projected to cost the council £25,000.
Mr Kemp said: “The bar is not as popular as it once was and the(pandemic) restrictions have had an impact. Anticipated income is lower than in the past, but costs stay the same.”
However, Mr Kemp had better news about town council reserves, which currently sit at £88,000. 
He said they were projected to be around £130,000 by the end of next year and by the end of February 2022, £46,000 ahead of the recommended figure of £170,000.
Town councillors must submit their budget by the end of January to South Glos along with the precept amount.
Last year the Filton precept was £315 per year, making the total Council Tax bill for South Gloucestershire £2,138 for Band D residents - or £215 per month spread over 10 months. Overall, last year Filton residents saw a rise of around £163/year after South Glos approved an increase of 3.99%.