Town councillors agree on budget

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TOWN councillors in Newbiggin have agreed their budget for the next financial year.

The total figure proposed totals £134,610, based on a request to Northumberland County Council for a precept of £113,110, the same as last year.

The difference of £21,500 is accounted for by an allocation of balances from this year’s budget.

Council chairman Rebecca McCready said the full impact of plans to transfer services from the county council to town councils such as Newbiggin’s would not be felt until next year due to the unitary authority’s decision to postpone the move, as reported in last week’s News Post Leader.

The council would be negotiating with county hall chiefs over the next six months about what services it might take on in readiness for the following financial year.

She said: “The costs we originally had from the county council were simply unaffordable.

“We want to make sure we get the best for the services that might be transferred over.

“If we accept them, they will have to be on our terms.”

The budget agreed last week includes administrative expenses of £56,710 and special delivery costs of £47,000.

The special delivery figure includes £17,500 to be spent on play areas and £10,000 on public toilets.

Special events lined up have been costed at £4,000, and £26,900 has been set aside for project funding.

Coun McCready said: “There is a healthy amount of detail and understanding about where the costs are coming from.

“In project-funding some of these things, we have some detail and initial ideas because this was drafted in response to the county council information.

“There is lots of background information with all of them. The detail is not there because that is stuff we are going to work on in the next few months.”

She added: “When we agreed the town plan, we acknowledged that it was ambitious and far-reaching.

“I believe that this budget will help us start to realise our aims and objectives and ensure that this town council makes a positive and lasting contribution to Newbiggin.”