Council should refuse services

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I AM writing in regard to Seaton Valley Council’s proposals to take on non-essential services from Northumberland County Council, such as bus shelters, litter bins and grass cutting etc.

The town council say that this will result in a large increase in the local precept per household by an estimated £86 per annum for a band B property and £74 per annum for a band A property.

It is important to note that these increases would be in addition to any increase in council tax levied by Northumberland County Council.

If these basic services are taken on by Seaton Valley, local residents will be, in effect, paying twice for these basic services, which is totally unacceptable.

The town council is already costing the local tax payer dearly, as despite there being a supposed council tax freeze in April this year, they still managed to increase the council tax precept by a staggering 42.7 per cent, plus 0.5 per cent for ‘special expenses’, whatever that may be.

This 43 per cent increase, I believe, is just a taster of the future increases residents can expect from Seaton Valley Town council should these disgraceful proposals go ahead.

The important point that residents would end up paying twice for the same basic services was stated by town councillor Bob Watson in a letter published earlier this year on the subject in the News Post Leader, yet still the town council is pushing ahead to obtain these services from the county council.

When the idea of this town council was first mooted following the abolition of Blyth Valley Borough Council, there was no mention of increased council tax, the hiring of town clerks or taking on any services, but all these things have been introduced.

Even before these proposals were announced I believed we could not afford Seaton Valley Council. And everything ran smoothly before it was created in 2009.

History has repeatedly shown that whenever extra layers of bureaucracy are introduced such as town or parish councils, then higher taxes, charges and allowances quickly follow.

Why should residents have to pay twice for the same services they are already receiving from the county council?

In addition, the town council is currently in the process of running a consultation exercise on these proposals, despite previously holding one two years ago, the results of which were never made public.

Surely it cannot be right that the town council itself is running the consultation when it is looking to take on these services.

I believe the consultation should have been run independently.

I would strongly urge Seaton Valley Council to refuse to take on these basic services from the county council and spare hard pressed local tax payers from yet more increased financial burdens in these hard economic times.

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