CHARD Town Council have agreed to a £78.28 council tax increase.

The decision was made at an extraordinary town council meeting held on Tuesday, February 6, where the budget for 2024/25 was discussed.

At the extraordinary council meeting held on Tuesday 6th February 2024 Chard Town Council set its budget for 2024/2025, which was unanimously agreed.

The town council hopes to be able to continue to provide the residents of Chard with some services after the financial emergency declared by Somerset Council.

The budget is split into two sections.

• The sum of £901,765 to enable the town council to continue providing all of its present services and facilities for the next 12 months.

This figure equates to a 13.7 per cent rise on a Band D council tax charge.

• The sum of £250,000 for the expected devolution of services from Somerset Council due to its announced financial emergency and the need to reduce the services it will provide across the county, including in Chard.

This equates to a further 31.52 per cent rise on the Band D council tax charge.

Together this results in an overall increase of 45.22 per cent on the D Band charge (from £173.09 to £251.37), which is an increase of £78.28 per annum (or £1.51 per week), resulting in a precept of £1,151,765 for 2024/2025.

A statement from Chard Town Council read: “The town council will place the additional £250,000 in an earmarked reserve that can only be used for services devolved by Somerset Council and only once a business case for using any of this money is presented by officers and councillors, and agreed at a full council meeting.

“Chard Town Council, like all town and parish councils in Somerset, would not have made this decision if Somerset Council was not in a financial emergency and seeking to cut non-statutory services.

“However, by making this decision to set aside these funds, the town council hopes to be able to continue to provide the residents of Chard with some services in Chard that will be reduced or removed completely after April 1, 2024, once the devolution of services begins.”