Our Council Tax bills are made of costs of 3 councils, Kent County, Tonbridge and Malling Borough and West Malling Parish Councils.
This year, the Borough Council is completely changing the basis on which it collects Council Tax from April. Since 1974, people living in the areas outside Tonbridge have all got Parish Councils running such services as street lighting, churchyards and playing fields, which they pay for through their parish rate.
But people in Tonbridge have had those services paid for by the Borough rate which everyone in the Borough pays. This led to complaints that parish residents are paying twice and so the Borough Council made grants to Parishes to partly offset this unfairness.
Because of Government cutbacks, the Borough Council has at last decided to charge Tonbridge residents a fairer share of their costs, So your Borough rate bill will go down. But TMBC are also removing the Parish Grants which in W Malling total a loss of over £16,000. This was used to maintain the churchyard, playing fields, and street lights.
West Malling Parish Councillors have agreed unanimously that they do not wish to see any lowering of the standards of maintenance on these areas, and so have had to raise the parish rate to cover the loss of grant. The Borough Council says the effect of the Borough rate going down and the Parish rate going up should cancel one another out.
However, the Parish Council itself has additional costs to meet next year. They will be investing in ...............
- A further £20,000 on lower energy, safer street lighting. That buys about five new columns.
- Creating a pension for our new clerk, and equipping the office with a new computer and desks to replace the current planks our staff are working on.
- Using a contractor to cut the Macey’s Meadow hedge on Norman Road as volunteers are no longer able to carry out this big job. These items add up to around £25,000 and will cost residents on average less than 50p per week per household.
The Council is saving money by ................
- Moving into smaller premises.
- Changing our street lights to LED lamps.
- Awarding all contracts competitively annually.
- Supporting volunteer groups who are running parish property at the Village Hall, the Cricket Club, Maceys Meadow and the Twitch Inn much more cheaply than we could do commercially.
We are very lucky indeed to have so many people who are active in making West Malling the great place it is to live. We hope residents will feel the additional cost of under 50p a week is good value for money.