'Portishead Town Council could go bankrupt unless tax rates increase'

PUBLISHED: 05:59 28 November 2019

Folk Hall - home to Portishead Town Council

Folk Hall - home to Portishead Town Council

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Portishead Town Council could go bankrupt within three years unless people pay more tax in future, says the chairman of its finance committee.

Cllr Bob Bull said taxpayers pay one of the lowest rates in North Somerset and it means it is running low on money.

A six-week public consultation has been launched by the town council to see how much they would be willing to pay.

Cllr Bull, at a public meeting on the topic on November 20, said: "Reserves are low because over the past few years the town council has been spending more than it was bringing in so reserves were used to balance the books.

"If the town carries on spending more than it brings in it will go bankrupt.

"An increase in the precept can rectify this but the amount we increase it by needs to be decided by residents."

A portion of the council tax money paid by households every month goes to town and parish councils.

Portishead Town Council's previous administration voted to freeze its tax precept at £26 for a Band D home, despite a small rise initially being proposed.

Former councillors who either stepped down before May's election, or lost their seats, have subsequently rejected any assertion they did not run the authority in a financially prudent manner.

The consultation, as reported by the Times earlier this month, will give taxpayers three options on how significant a rise in bills they would be willing to accept.

The more money people are happy to spend, the more the town council will have to spend on events and services.

Portishead's precept works out at 50p a week for a Band D property, about a third of the amount people in Nailsea pay.

A town council spokesman said: "Residents have until January 3 to have their voices heard.

"Leaflets will be available in the Times or from the council offices at the Folk Hall, and the consultation questions are also on the town council website and on social media.

"Councillors assure residents that all comments made will be taken into consideration.

"The council welcomes letters sent to the Folk Hall or residents can email admin@portishead.gov.uk"

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