The Parish Council is funded through a portion of your council tax charge. A ‘precept’ is issued to Swindon Borough Council who add the charge to your base council tax, much as the police and fire services do.
How the funding is changing
In 2016, Swindon Borough Council embarked upon a project to reduce expenditure in a number of non-essential areas in order for it to be redirected towards duties such as adult social care and child protection. As a result, the Parish Council agreed to take on the responsibility of a package of services such as grass cutting, shrub maintenance, and litter picking in public areas.
Under a transitional arrangement, the Borough provided 100% of their allocated budget to the Parish in 2016/17, this will reduce to 50% in 2017/18 and in 2018/19 it will fall to 25% and finally 0% in 2019/2020. The shortfall in funding as the budget is reduced is be covered through the Parish annual precept.
What the funding changes mean for you
The continued reduction in funding from Swindon Borough Council along with the need to maintain and improve Parish assets necessitates a further increase in our precept in the 2018/19 tax year. As such, we are requesting £135,000 which means the average Band D property will now pay a precept of £135.49; an increase of £0.84 per week.
The council has received positive feedback on the new service model and, while cost-effectiveness is at the forefront of everything we do, in order to maintain and improve our services to the community, an increase to the precept was necessary.
For the 2019/20 precept the Parish Council has already started discussions in their meetings (from July 2018). All our meetings are open to the public so please attend if you would like to hear more on how we set the precept.
Looking to the future
The Council is also working to improve the facilities it provides in the Parish. Most significantly the council intends to improve the playing fields and changing rooms while at the same time putting money to one side to replace the recreation hall, which will be nearing its end of life soon, with a multi-purpose building which will become the heart of the Parish.
It is hoped that these improvements will open up income-generation opportunities for the council which will reduce its reliance on the precept alone.
Swindon Borough Council performed a Community Governance Review in 2015 which resulted in the formation of new Parish Councils within Swindon and the surrounding area. As part of that review, two areas that were within Chiseldon Parish, namely Coate and Badbury Park were moved into the Central Swindon South Parish Council area. The resultant effect being a decrease in the number of residences sharing the burden of the Chiseldon precept. The number of Band D equivalent homes was reduced from 1144.4 to 996.40 due to this change.
If you want to discuss any aspect of the Council’s finances, then please contact the Parish Clerk or feel free to attend one of our meetings which have a dedicated public recess.