Parish Council Tax Increases

The BBC News today report on the exceptional increases in Council Tax Precept being demanded by some Parish Councils.  You can read the full article at: BBC News 23 Feb 2017

The BBC article reads as follows:

Villagers paying council tax are seeing their parish bills rise at a higher rate than the share they pay to larger authorities.

BBC News analysed the bills of more than 8,500 town and parish councils from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

Parish councillors say they are being asked to take on more responsibilities as their larger local authority counterparts make cuts.

The government said it expected parish councils to “demonstrate restraint”.

As a comparison the Council Tax paid by Whittington Tax Payers, to The County Council, Police & Crime Commission, Lancashire Fire Authority, Lancaster City Council and Whittington Parish Council have increased by the following amounts:

Increase over the years 2013 to 2016
Lancashire County Council 4%
Police & Crime Commissioner 4%
Lancashire Fire Authority 2%
Lancaster City Council 4%
Whittington Parish Council 11%

Our PC are now proposing to increase the Council Tax Precept by a further 10% for the coming year in order to partly fund the cost of Speed Indicating Devices, which will cost a total of £7,500 and for which the PC themselves have Minuted that there is no established need.

On the other hand, the sight railings have not been painted for years.

If we were a Town Council an increase in excess of 2% could not be levied without a Referendum.  Because our PC are not obliged to consult with their parishioner’s does not mean that our views can be cast aside and ignored. It is about time our Parish Council started to get their priorities and obligations in order.

Whittington PC and my Website.

On many occasions over the years, I have been forced to reprimand Whittington Parish Council on the gross inaccuracies contained in their Minutes.

Their November 2016 Minutes were published on the 20 February 2017, two months after the date they were due.

Minute 1286 makes the following bald and totally erroneous statement:

 “discussion took place regarding electronic communication, the village blog/website originally registered to Whittington Parish Council”

 I have to make it clear that never, on any occasion in the 13 years of the life of my website has it ever been supported by the Parish Council.  The PC has never, on any occasion, had any website registered in its name and certainly not the one registered in my name.  They have never provided funding to support the Domain Name registration or the cost of hosting the 256 individual web pages and 282 images that constitute the site.  Any suggestions that the PC may make to the contrary are blatant falsehoods.

Apart from providing copies of their Agendas & Minutes and consumer warning notices from LCC the Parish Council have never provided information for inclusion on the website, and indeed have considered themselves aloof from the Parishioners the web pages represent, as they do in their failure to support Wagtail.

They have failed to make an adequate response to questions put to them on behalf of Parishioners and totally ignore communications and indeed rarely acknowledge the receipt of emails or letters.

The PC have a duty of care in maintaining the public documents they publish.  They are frequently guilty of gross incompetence as far as their Minutes are concerned.  This is just another instance in a long list.

John Keegan

Speed Indicator Update

With the belated appearance of the Parish Council Minutes for November 2016 on the Lancaster City website, I feel that I should update my previous observations.

Minute 1285 makes it clear that the parish Council are going ahead with the installation of Speed Indicators.  At no point can I find any reference in previous PC Minutes to any detailed discussion of the need, benefits, alternatives, merits and costs of such an installation.

I also note that members of the PC do not use this blog for communication with residents, presumably they feel that the existing methods soon to be supported by their own form of electronic communication are more than adequate.

The Village Blog