Councillors at the Andover Town Council Meeting voted to increase the Andover precept by around £10 a year for a Band D equivalent home at the full council meeting on Thursday 14th January.
The rise – equivalent to 78p per month – is to cover reserves of funding that the Council must legally hold and increases a Band D home from £10.58 per year to £20.03 per year.
Andover Town Council along with parish councils gets its funding by receiving a small amount of the local Council Tax. This is referred to as the Parish (in this case, Andover) Precept.
Amongst the various questions asked during the public participation session, Councillors were asked about the possibility of the Town Council appointing it’s own mayor. The question from Mo Sweeney was “why do we need an extra Mayor when funds would be better spent on helping the people of Andover that have mental health issues?”
At the Policy & Resources Committee meeting on Thursday 22nd October 2015 councillors discussed whether the Town Council should consult the public on the option for the Town Council to appoint a Mayor for the Town of Andover.
Under the Local Government Act 1972 the Chairman – who is elected in May of any year – can call themselves ‘Town Mayor’.
At that meeting and after consideration by councillors it was agreed that the Town Council did not have enough time to consult the public prior to consideration of a Mayor in January 2016. Some suggested that information should be issued from the Town Council explaining that having a Mayor was a consideration of the Town Council however after debating the matter at length, it was decided that no information would be distributed on the Town Council’s option to have a Town Mayor in the lead up to the Annual Meeting in May.
At that meeting it was also decided that a Budget be set aside in the event of a Chairman calling themselves Town Mayor and that “literature be prepared to explain the role of the Town Mayor and their legal status.” An allowance of £1,650 has been made for the Chairman’s Badge and Regalia in the 2016/17 budget.
The council were to respond to the question after the meeting.
New Councillor Elected
With the resignation of Cllr Ricky Pond from the Harroway Ward, a new councillor was coopted on during the meeting. Originally four residents applied however after a vote on the night, Andy Fitchett was elected ahead of Linda Gates and Richard Kidd.
Andover Town Council Press Release
Andover Town Council is happy to announce its intentions to bring significant improvements to our community and the resources we access. In addition to giving the town a voice, providing the Christmas lights, organising events to mark the Centenary of World War I, the Council plans to invest in various community projects throughout the year including supporting our Youth Council in putting on A-Fest, funding Defibrillators for Andover High Street, and helping to launch the Andover Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme. All of the Andover Town Councillors give their time as volunteers, the only level of local government to receive no pay.
Andover Town Council is responsible for all allotment sites in Andover, many of which need a great deal of remedial work in order to bring them back up to the standard our residents deserve. Council policy is that where possible allotment holders bear the cost, however much remedial work has had to be done due to safety and environmental issues which had not been previously addressed, and has led to the Council having to draw on its reserves. All fees collected from allotment holders go directly into covering costs and improving the sites, and we intend to carry this on in 2016. This will ensure that all necessary safety work and maintenance can be carried out to the required standards. Many of these are one off costs relating to health and safety obligations.
The Council is legally required to hold reserves of funding to cover both running costs and expenses such as financing elections, dealing with any emergencies on the allotments, or with the Christmas Lights. Currently this reserve is not substantial enough to cover such costs and the Council is working to remedy this.
In order to meet commitments to both financial stability and benefiting the community, the council will be increasing the precept to £20.03 for a Band D Equivalent home. This will mean an increase of 78p per month. Andover’s precept is currently set at just £10.58 for a Band D Equivalent property. This is the lowest precept in Test Valley and will continue to be vastly smaller than the national average of £54.12.
Andover Town Council is committed to developing the town and its resources. We are working for you to raise the profile of our town and truly make Andover somewhere we all feel proud to live.