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Middleton Cheney Parish Council

Serving the people of Middleton Cheney

All Saints Church 1920

Clerk: Mrs Valerie Furniss
Parish Meeting Rooms
Middleton Cheney, Banbury
Oxon OX17 2LR

Tel: 01295 713500

The Precept is that element of your Council Tax that is paid to Middleton Cheney Parish Council.

Every year, the Parish Council draws up budgets and calculates how much money it needs for the next Financial Year. These are usually finalised at the December Full Council meeting and then submitted to South Northamptonshire County Council. SNCC co-ordinate the other demands from NCC, Police and themselves and come up with the rate to be paid from 1st April that year.

Precept 2015

Shortly, you will be receiving your Council Tax Demand Notice for 2015/16 from South Northants Council. Detailed in it will be Middleton Cheney's parish element showing an increase, the first for 2 years of 1.94% average per household equating to approximately £72.99 p.a. – last year being £71.60 p.a.

As a Council, we are aware that the services we provide for residents need to be continued but are prudent on how we spend that money. The Precept, a sum of money given to us to keep services running, is spread this year across 1596 households.

The financial position of the Council is sound and every care is taken when spending public funds. If you have ideas of where you believe we need to spend money to make further improvements please let us know and we will do our utmost to meet your request or explain why we are unable to. For example, we listened to your concerns regarding speeding in the village and asked Highways to look at the problem with us. Highways' advice was not to put in chicanes or speed bumps but to have gates to the entrance of the village – apparently physiological and drivers slow down automatically. Highways have erected the Village Gates and will be maintaining them as and when appropriate. Another example, bereaved families attending plots at our Cemetery suggested a Notice Board to keep them aware of Cemetery Regulations and a new path as the old one was breaking up – we have met both requests.

2014/15 was a busy year for the Parish Council and we did our best to stay within budget albeit faced with increasing costs. For your information, periodic Bank Reconciliations are carried out and Risk Assessments on our activities ensuring that financial management is adequate and effective. Each financial year is reviewed and cleared by Internal and External Auditors and we have met all requirements. A very pleasing outcome as it provides independent assurance that our Accounts present fairly our financial position; our finances are in good order; there is good governance and financial management arrangements are sound and effective providing value for money for you, the taxpayers.

Our aim, as always, is to balance the budget and keep our element of your Council Tax to a minimum. This year the Parish Council Finance Working Party inevitably identified and had to recommend some budget reductions whilst allowing the Council to protect and maintain services. Shortly there will be other budget pressures to be faced together with inflation running costs for the services we provide.

We are acutely aware that times are difficult and recognise many of our residents are facing increasing challenges and we are committed to do all we can to support you.

Our aim is to continue to deliver the highest standards of service and we welcome your comments or suggestions on how you view our service. Importantly, with your feedback we can continue to improve the way we work.

Finally, if you would like to know the areas the Parish Council spend money on details are on the website under the appropriate heading of Council Tax.

Precept 2014

By now you have no doubt received your Council Tax Demand Notice 2014/15 from South Northants Council.

Hopefully, you will have noticed that the element relating to Middleton Cheney Parish Council shows a reduction in percentage terms of

-2.2%.

I was pleased to be told that an ex-Chair commented and showed appreciation that we had achieved this. As a Council we were very prudent on how we spent money last year and are fully aware that we need to continue with the services residents get but shrewd in how we anticipate spending the money we receive this year – so for those of you who are concerned on whether what we do is a good way to spend your 'hard earned' money, I think the above answers your questions.

However, if you have ideas of where you believe we need to spend money to make improvements please let us know and we will do our utmost to meet your request or explain why we are unable to. A few residents say there are100's of things we can do but we need you to be specific and this would then be helpful to the Finance Committee of the Parish Council when we meet. You might find out that some of the areas you believe should be improved are the responsibility of the County Council or the District Council.

Each financial year has to be reviewed and cleared by External Auditors and I am pleased to say that our last audit we came through with what can only be described as 'flying colours' and no amendments this time!

Below are some of the areas we spend the money we receive on:

  • · Grass Cutting – throughout the village
  • · Litter Picking
  • · Play Areas – Stanwell and Astrop Road – THESE HAVE JUST HAD REPAIRS, REPLACEMENT AND REFURBISHMENT WORK CARRIED OUT
  • · Street Lighting - Power and Maintenance
  • · Cemetery – its upkeep and grass cutting
  • · Parish Meeting Rooms – Fire Inspection, Rates, Water, Electricity
  • · Printing, Legal, Telephone and sundries
  • · General Maintenance in the village
  • · Paths and Rights of Way
  • · Litter Bins and Dog Litter Bins
  • · Tree Maintenance & Hedges
  • · Month of Madness during August for the younger members of our village
  • · Remembrance Sunday
  • · Upkeep of All Saints Church Yard
  • · 2 Defibrillators and their maintenance
  • · Grants
  • · Audit Fees
  • · Staff training and salaries

Dog owners: We pay out just under £4K p.a. to have bins emptied so please use them!

Val Furniss (Mrs)

Chair

Precept 2013

The reason why the Precept increased is that there are a smaller number of houses participating due to Government changes connected to the Welfare Reform agenda i.e. less residents participating in the overall amount we need to continue with the services residents do get. However, with the new developments there will be more people participating eventually and therefore residents may see a reduction when these households do participate, or no increase. Each financial year has to be reviewed and cleared by External Auditors. Refer below to see what residents in M.C. currently get. If there are any sensible suggestions on what we can eliminate please let me know.

The difference between a payment last year (£127.33) and this year (£138.60) is an increase of £11.27 for the year which means 94p a month for the services provided by the P.C. We are a large village and therefore our costs are much higher than other Parish Councils - one of the largest in Northamptonshire C.C. so no comparison to say, Farthinghoe or Overthorpe or Cropedy.

Dog owners: We pay out just under £4K p.a. to have bins emptied.

Val Furniss

Chair