Total council tax bills rise by over £100

A TYPICAL council tax bill in the Downend area will rise by just over £100 in April.

When increases in the charges levied by South Gloucestershire Council, parish councils, the police and fire services are added up, a Band D homeowner living within the area covered by Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council is set to pay an extra £102.81 or 4.75% this year, with their total bill now £2,267.66.

South Gloucestershire Council was being recommended to agree a 4.99% increase – the maximum allowed without calling a referendum – at its meeting in late February, to take its charge to residents with homes in the average Band D tax bracket up by £86.39, from £1,727.98 to £1,814.37.

Councillors are also being recommended to bring in a series of charges, including for parking at council-run car parks, which will raise an estimated £1.5 million every year.

The rest of the increase in council tax bills comes from other public bodies.

Avon & Somerset’s police and crime commissioner Mark Shelford is raising charges for a Band D tax payer by £13 (4.88%) from £266.20 to £279.20.

Avon Fire Authority is expected to raise its annual charge by £2.48 or 2.99% to £85.43 in Band D.

However the final amount paid by people living in different neighbourhoods varies according to the services provided buy their parish councils.

Town and parish councils are not subject to government restrictions on how much they can raise charges without calling a referendum.

The Band D charge levied by Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council has gone down by 37p, from £65.74 to £65.37, after the council froze its overall budget at £304,500.

However Emersons Green Town Council, which covers some areas of Mangotsfield and Downend, has almost doubled its budget, raising it by 91% from £306,000 to £584,600.

Its charge to a Band D taxpayer has risen by £39.73, to £83.72, meaning that overall bill for a Band D taxpayer in its area is £2,287.67, some 6.63% higher than last year.

Staple Hill & Mangotsfield Parish Council, which was founded last year with a precept set in advance by South Gloucestershire Council, has decided its own budget this year.

It has risen by 18.6%, from £106,800 to £126,616, with the precept rising by £4.95 from £26.68 to £31.63.

However, because the new parish council has taken over some responsibilities for local facilities from South Gloucestershire, it means another element of the bill for neighbourhood facilities, known as ‘special expenses’, has gone down by £1.73, while Downend’s has gone up by £1.31.

The lowest overall Band D bill in the area is for residents of Frenchay, which is part of Winterbourne parish.

There the parish council has raised its precept by 15p, from £45.36 to £45.51 and the special expenses bill is up by 87p, with the overall band D bill £2,231.58.

The parish budget has risen by 3% from £189,050 to £194,750 but new homes in the area mean there are more taxpayers, spreading the cost of the increased spending among more people.

The biggest increase in South Gloucestershire is in Charlton Hayes, where the parish council has more than trebled its budget from £65,700 to £234,500, and the £88.39 precept rise, from £35.10 to £123.49, is more than the increase levied by South Gloucestershire Council.