Plans to increase Barry Town Council’s precept by ten percent, more than three times inflation, were defeated last night as councillors supported an alternative budget put forward by Plaid Cymru.
Under Plaid Cymru’s alternative budget, the Barry Town household precept will be the same in 2018/19 as it was in 2015/16 – £51.29 for a Band D household.
After Labour suggested a rise of ten per cent, Plaid Cymru leader Shirley Hodges said that she thought it was an unacceptable increase when people’s incomes face pressure on all sides and instead recommended just 2.4% – below inflation and returning it to the same amount per household as three years ago.
Facing a deficit of £135,000 between the council’s planned spending and income, Plaid Cymru Councillor Ian Johnson set out the detail of the alternative budget.
Councillor Ian Johnson said:
“When you see a budget in deficit, you must get the best mix to cover those costs.
“Our proposal is to reduce some of the proposed spending to cover around half of the deficit, increase tax slightly for pay for a quarter and take the rest from reserves where they are for necessary one-off projects.
“Our budget means no cuts in Barry Town Council’s services, which have included sponsoring the Firework Night, Christmas lights on Holton Road, High Street and Park Crescent and support for people in Barry with dementia, as well as £50,000 per year of grants for local community groups and sports clubs.
“We have even been able to increase the Shop Local Budget, which supports local traders, to £20,000 per year within this budget.
“It means that we are not needing to look at any staffing cuts. In fact, the only cut is that councillors should pay for their own computers.
“This is a sensible and fair budget from Plaid Cymru which allows the council to continue to grow and develop without putting the burden upon the taxpayer to do so, especially as we have substantial reserves.
“In the past five years, our precept per household has increased by 3%, compared with 35% in Penarth Town Council in the same time. That is quite a difference and shows the impact that Plaid Cymru has on good budgeting and scrutiny of the town council.”
Labour’s 10% precept rise was defeated 11-9 before Plaid Cymru’s alternative budget was passed 9-0, with Labour and some Conservative councillors abstaining.