Why must villagers pay extra after new tax hike

PUBLISHED: 17:20 12 April 2007 | UPDATED: 13:56 04 May 2010

THE Council Tax bills for 2007/8 have now dropped through letterboxes. Most of our public services, as usual, have taken the maximum five per cent increase, as anything higher is likely to be capped by the Government. East Cambs District Council s increas

THE Council Tax bills for 2007/8 have now dropped through letterboxes. Most of our public services, as usual, have taken the maximum five per cent increase, as anything higher is likely to be capped by the Government. East Cambs District Council's increase has been a sensible 2.5 per cent.

Unfortunately, if you live in the parish of Sutton the precept increase will be a further 10 per cent, despite a 50 per cent increase in the annual precept over the last four years.

For a Band D dwelling, the precept will be £99.99 compared with a similar village such as Haddenham where it will be £37.35. The only parish planning to spend more in 2007/8 is the City of Ely which is more than five times the population of Sutton.

What do the majority of the residents of Sutton get for this huge expenditure that is any different to other parishes?

Is the village environment noticeably better than other villages? I would say not. Petty vandalism is a regular occurrence in the village. Our streets are untidy with litter and fouling of the pavements and our traffic calming measures are largely ineffective with the traffic shaking the foundations of many houses as they speed along The Brook.

We do have a building called The Glebe, which has some very nice parish council offices and has cost the residents well over £500,000 to date and will continue to cost significant amounts of money in the future.

We have approx seven staff employed by the parish council, costing more than £70,000 per year and fast becoming one of the largest employers in the village. Despite this expenditure, we have no adequate sports hall.

One must question the council's priorities. Maintaining essential services and a satisfactory environment should be the important requirement not unnecessary expensive grandiose schemes costing the taxpayer vast amounts of money way out into the future.

Expenditure of this nature should be subject to a consensus of public opinion. It seems now the councils do not feel they need public approval. They have become our masters not our servants, taking public money and dictating how they wish to spend it.

There are council elections in May 2007 when the current council has to stand down. Whether with new councilors a more prudent approach will prevail and result in better use of public funds will be interesting to see.

CHRIS DRURY

Sutton

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