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Councillors in Gillingham have voted ‘in principle’ for a rise in the local precept of 4.85 percent for the financial year 2019/2020.

The move came at a meeting of the town council’s policy and resources committee on Monday 10 December where it was agreed the total annual budget should rise by just under £40,000 to £858,194.

As usual, more than half the budget – £435, 358 – will go on staff, though that figure represents a slight reduction on the previous year.

Around a half of the rise – some £20,000 – comes from money set aside for the likelihood that the town council will be given greater responsibilities and thus face higher costs from devolution once the reorganisation of local government in Dorset begins in April.

A further £6,000 has been set aside to cover the cost of overseeing elections, a responsibility that will definitely pass to the town once North Dorset District Council disappears in April.

Though it is not yet clear how much the 4.85 percent rise will be in real terms, last year a 6 percent increase in the Gillingham precept meant a rise of £3.23 a month for Band D council tax payers.

A fuller report will appear  in the January edition of Gillingham & Shaftesbury News

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