Proposals to change the funding of Parish and Town Council buildings

Cllr Turner

 

Our councillors are being asked to consider a proposal to charge Parish Councils for the space they currently use in Kirklees Council buildings,  and to remove the subsidy they pay for those Parish and Town Councils that are privately renting office accommodation.

Parish and Town Councils are the lowest tier of local government and work to improve community well-being and provide better local services. They are funded in part by precepts on the council tax paid by residents in their area, they can also apply for some grants and funding from the government and the EU.

The proposals if agreed will save the council in excess of £100,000 a year.

If approved the Parish and Town Councils will pay a re-charge for the cost of internal and external services including utilities, services, repairs and management costs dependent on the amount of space they occupy in the building.

If the proposals go ahead

  • Denby Dale Parish council could receive a recharge of £14,848 p.a.
  • Holme Valley Parish council could receive a recharge of £27,840 p.a.
  • Meltham Town Council could receive a recharge of £17,632 p.a.
  • Mirfield Town Council could receive a recharge of £14,848 p.a.

Kirkburton Parish Council currently occupies Burton Village Hall and Kirklees council pays for the lease which is £4077.  Under the proposals the Parish Council would be asked to cover the cost themselves.

An asset transfer of Skelmanthorpe Council Offices to Denby Dale Parish Council has already been agreed.

Cllr Graham Turner our cabinet member for resources said:

We acknowledge the Parish and Town Councils play an important part in the local democratic process and are continually working on ways to make sure that we look at ways to work together for the people of Kirklees.

However, Town and Parish Councils are only found in a small number of areas around Kirklees, and only provide services for their own communities.’

At this time of austerity we must ensure that our scarce resources are made available to benefit the residents of Kirklees as a whole, ensuring we can deliver essential services to the most vulnerable people in our society.

As Town and Parish councils are able to raise revenue through taxes to support their individual communities, and as Kirklees Council has no legal duty to pay for their office accommodation, I believe it is only fair that we remove this funding.”

An alternate proposal, could see the buildings being transferred to Parish or Town Council ownership through an asset transfer.

What happens next?

If the proposals to recharge the Town and Parish Councils are agreed by cabinet members they will come into force from 1 April 2016.

 

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