You might think that a Town Council budget is fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. You’d be right in thinking it isn’t that large in comparison to other local authorities but it’s still over £500,000 of public money so it’s right the Council does all it can to achieve best value for money and provides enough funding to deliver good quality services.
In 2018 we are proposing another years freeze in council tax. This will be a record ninth year that the Council has frozen its portion of the tax bill. We’ve been able to do this for two reasons; we’ve found huge savings in the back office, of around £30,000 a year and we’ve increased our additional income by around £35,000. This means that we’re able to freeze council tax but also continue to invest in new and existing services.
The Coleshill Hub continues for a 6th year, now with a dedicated member of staff and no worries about future funding. We’re also maintaining our annual grant fund that will have soon supported over 30 different community groups with £40,000 worth of funding to put on events and activities across the town.
So, in this year’s budget, we’re again committed to carrying our further improvements to the land and community buildings we own. The Croft, Cemetery, Memorial Park and Temple Way Park have all seen investment over the last few years as have our two buildings, the Town Hall and Community Centre.
In the year ahead, we’ll be continuing this programme of improvements, with a £70,000 fund to improve the Town Hall with a new kitchen and replacement windows and a £10,000 fund to improve the Community Centre. We’ve worked hard to ensure both buildings are assets to our community and today more people than ever before use them for a wide range of activities. Our investments over the last few years to improve both buildings has seen the subsidy used to support them reduce from around £16,000 in 2010 to around £6000 last year. This hasn’t been achieved by hiking up rental fees either!
Whilst we now have a first-class facility at the Memorial Park, we’ll continue to make small improvements to keep it as a first-rate facility. We’ll also be investing in the play area at Temple Way, introducing an accessible swing and new flooring to tackle the costly vandalism there.
The Council will also be starting work on the expansion of the town’s cemetery, extending into newly purchased land and providing a peaceful resting place for our towns residents. Please be on the lookout for more information on this in the future.
Perhaps most excitingly the Council has set up a new fund of £30,000 to enable us to begin to tackle the challenges and opportunities our town faces in the years to come. With Costa coming to the town and Morrison’s opening a few years back, the High Street faces a big challenge; to remain relevant in an age where the internet seems to be king.
The Council, we hope, like many local residents, does not want to see retail lost from our High Street but we recognise to keep the High Street retail focused then we need to see major infrastructure improvements. We need increased parking and improved public transport. We also need a more coherent approach to promoting our town as a whole and engaging with people to get them into our town, whether they live here or not. This new £30,000 fund is there to help us do this, it might be to employ new expertise or to use for match funding and inward investment. We’ll be asking for views on this in the coming months as we look to use the money to achieve our aim.
The view from the Council is simple, we have some big challenges coming up with HS@ development, UK Central and the proposed metro link from Coventry to the Black Country. On top of that, there’s the housing proposed by other authorities almost on our border. If we do not take the ‘bull by the horns’ now then we’ll miss out on potential funding and opportunities to improve our town. We don’t want to miss out.
I hope this gives you a brief overview of the budget for the year ahead but should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in to