During these difficult and challenging times Buckfastleigh Town Council agreed that it is essential to retain the services we provide and support within our community.
Council Tax revenues in Teignbridge have fallen due to the effects of Covid-19 which would have led to a significant shortfall in the Town Council’s budget for the new financial year.
To keep the same income and not make cuts at this critical time, the Town Council has agreed to increase the Council Tax Precept by 4.37% which equates to around 11p per week based on a Band B property and keeps the budget of £147,153 at the same level for a second year.
Over the past year and following the widening of access to our grants process, we have awarded over one third of our budget in grants to help fund and support local services, groups and organisations who operate for the benefit of our community and in addition to this we have contributed over £15,000 towards supporting the food bank at St. Luke’s Church, the community Covid response, and wellbeing initiatives to support our residents.
At Christmas we had to think outside the box and instead of hosting our annual community Christmas lunch and participating and contributing to our very popular Christmas fair, we commissioned a free fantastic light show at Buckfastleigh Primary School and delivered prepared Christmas lunches, treat bags and presents to those who were facing a difficult festive period.
The future is now uncertain with many facing severe economic hardship due to unemployment or lower income. By keeping the same level of income as last year, the Town Council will continue to maintain existing services and where possible support new ones to help our community. This will include the continuation of the youth wellbeing café, funding for the Hello Summer programme, the Citizens Advice outreach service, a new verge management scheme to protect our special areas of wildlife habitat and working in partnership with some of our neighbours to provide a new bulky waste collection service following the withdrawal of funding by Teignbridge District Council.
Buckfastleigh Town Council is one of the most proactive councils in the UK and we will continue to work for the benefit of our community over the coming year. The Councillors are all volunteers, many of whom also work full time, and we do not claim any expenses so that we can ensure that most of the money goes straight back into the community where it is needed and that we always try to use local services and suppliers wherever possible.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Bryony Tilsley, our newly co-opted Town Councillor, who some of you may know from Dartmoor Skies.
Councillor Sue Clarke, Chair of Buckfastleigh Town Council