Background to the Hexham Town Council Budget
Hexham Town Council, like other town and parish councils, receives most of its income by precepting. The precept is an instruction to the principal authority (in Hexham’s case this is Northumberland County Council) to raise money on behalf of the town council by including an appropriate sum in the council tax bill.
There are no controls as such on the amount that town councils can precept, but every council is aware of the significance of its own decision on this and council tax payers – electors – can always vote out councils or council members they disagree with at election time. Also the auditor will not condone the building up of a substantial reserve in a town council’s bank account, unless it is earmarked for particular future projects.
Town and parish councils may only spend money on those things which they are permitted to do by law. This includes expenditure on services and activities (e.g. playing fields, local amenities etc) provided by themselves or some other body, as well as on running costs (e.g. clerk’s pay, insurance etc). Generally there are no maximum limits on expenditure. However, expenditure incurred under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972, the ‘free spending power’, is restricted currently (2015) to a total of £7.36 per elector, in any year, a figure that is annually uplifted in line with inflation.
Town and parish council accounts are balanced on an annual basis, 1st April – 31st March.
Download the 2016 – 2017 Budget 2016 - 2017 Town Council Budget (265)
Hexham Town Council’s budget
Hexham Town Council aims to keep its precept as low as is realistically possible. Each council tax paying household in Hexham contributes on average about £71.60 in this current year.
The Town Council owns St Andrew’s Cemetery and the three allotment sites in the town, for which there is both further income and expenditure.
The Council’s income and expenditure is monitored closely and all accounts for payment and all income received are approved and recorded at every monthly Council meeting.
Town Council expenditure falls into 5 main categories:-
running costs – e.g. staff, office costs, insurance
town services – e.g. allotments, seats, play areas, litter bins, floodlights, bus shelters
commemorations and celebrations – e.g. Christmas lights, Remembrance Day
community – e.g. grants to organisations, town twinning
cemetery – e.g. maintenance and running costs.