A MASSIVE £36,000 sum will be used to keep down Ilminster’s council tax bill over the next 12 months.

The town council agreed its budget and precept for 2019/20 last week, including setting its share of council tax.

There will be an increase of 4p a week for Ilminster residents, equivalent to an extra £2.26 over the course of the year.

The precept is the share of council tax which goes to Ilminster Town Council, with potential rises still coming from the fire service, district council and police.

The mayor, Councillor Julie Fowler, said: “The town council always tries to get best value for money and this prudent approach means we are in the fortunate position of being able to use money from the reserves to help keep the keep the Ilminster precept low whilst still maintaining, and helping to support, local services and facilities.”

The town council will collect £325,740 in tax from residents for 2019/20.

The town council has been able to keep the increase low as it will be using £36,000 from reserves to help meet expenditure.

The town council is estimating that over the next 12 months it will raise almost £31,000 in income from rents, the weekly market and cemetery fees.

As part of the town council’s 2019/20 plans, work to develop the neighbourhood plan will continue as will exploration of the options to meet the demands for burial and cremation plots.

The town council also plans to make financial contributions to Ilminster Tourism, Ilminster Library and youth provision in the town.

A small amount of money has also been included in the budget for grants, said Cllr Val Keitch, chairman of the resources committee, which considers grant applications.

She added: “A small financial contribution from the town council to a project demonstrates the town council’s support and this can make the difference between the success and failure of a project to attract larger amounts of funding from other sources.”

Last year, Ilminster Town Council voted to increase the precept by 7.5 per cent.

In May, then-mayor Val Keitch handed £2,400 in grants to charities and good causes at the town’s annual awards.

The citizen’s award went to Lucy Driver, who runs the Ilminster Youth Theatre, while the Mayor’s Award was given to fundraising florist Angie Blackwell.

The Bradley Cullen Award, given to an inspirational young person in Ilminster, was given to Emily Lancaster, who was nominated Ilminster Scout Group.