In its 2022-2023 budget discussions, Seaford Town Council worked hard to balance helping ease the financial strain on its residents with ensuring Seaford’s facilities, activities and charm, that are loved by so many, remain intact to be enjoyed by all.
At its Full Council meeting on Wednesday 26th January 2022, the Town Council was presented with a draft budget which, after a healthy amount of discussion and some well-thought through amendments, was adopted and the level of precept required set at £1,044,965 for the 2022-2023 financial year.
The ‘precept’ is the Town Council’s share of the Council Tax collected by the local billing authority, Lewes District Council. By issuing a ‘precept’ this ensures the Town Council is able to meet its spending requirements, both from its strategic plans and also the upkeep and maintenance of its large portfolio of assets and facilities within the town. The precept is just one income stream for the Town Council – it also has a significant commercial income stream (from rents, The View and golf course, for example) and is very active in seeking external grant funding or sponsorship towards project costs.
Many of the Town Council’s projects were put on hold during 2020 and 2021 as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty this presented. The Town Council has remained cautious for the coming year, identifying necessities that were required in the year to ensure the Town Council is able to run and also, key projects that it wished to take forwards to ensure an appropriate and healthy level of care and development for its services.
Examples of the key projects identified for the 2022–2023 year, which require a budget, are the Martello Toilets facility, replacement seafront bins and playground maintenance/upgrades, to name a few. There are of course also many projects the Town Council undertakes, or supports in partnership with others, that do not require a budget. Examples of these include the climate change and renaturing activities, arranging handovers with ‘friends of’ groups for green spaces in the town, facilitating community events, working with partners to record the historic fort findings on Seaford Head and supporting some of the fantastic projects of Seaford Community Partnership (which was also discussed at this same Full Council meeting and sets out some very exciting projects in the pipeline for the town!).
In the face of rising costs for many households and following what has been a challenging two years for everyone, Seaford Town Council has managed, through its careful and methodical budgeting approach, to set a precept with an increase from 2021-2022 of only £7.03 per year, just under 14 pence per week on the Band D Council Tax (each Council Tax Bill will identify which band a property is in – Band D is however the band used by all local authorities for the purposes of explaining the Council Tax level).
At this Full Council meeting, the Town Council recognised the financial challenges faced by all due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this is what influenced the Town Council’s work to ensure any precept increase remained minimal. This said, it is vital that the Town Council’s finances continue to be calculated to weather any future storms. This increase will enable the Town Council to continue to support and provide services to the community, whilst gradually recovering its reserves to a level at which it can ensure service continuity in case of any future financial challenges.
For full details, the meeting papers can be found on the Meetings Page of the website.
The recording of the Town Council meeting can be viewed on the Town Council’s YouTube channel.
Further communications from the Town Council on setting the precept for 2022-2023 will be published over the coming months. This includes a printed leaflet to all households which will be delivered with your Council Tax Bill from Lewes District Council.