You may have seen the online document produced by Telford & Wrekin entitled ‘Your Council Tax 2016/17’.
This gives a breakdown of how your contributions are spent and shows what precept funding each Parish gets across the borough and how this is then formulated against your Council Tax charges.
You will see that they have stated that:
“Lawley & Overdale Parish Council have opted out of running footway lighting in 2016/17”.
You will of course want to know why we took that decision:
The footway lighting charges for this Parish was at a cost of circa £30k per year – a lot of money you may say, but for a number of years we have supported the lighting scheme and felt that it was in the best interests of our parishioners to do so. Incorporated in these costs was a priority service, better maintenance and upgrades to lighting columns/illumination plus it kept the council tax charges per household down by being a part of the scheme.
What changed to make us opt out?
The lighting costs were increasing and we were being asked to invest an additional £150k-£160k in an upgrade programme with a commitment over a 10 – 25 year period, on top of the original annual financial outlay. We did not view this as obtaining best value for money for our residents. There was no longer a priority service and with the mix of new lighting installed across the growing development not being adopted, we would be paying out an awful lot of money for approximately 417 scattered, outdated lights to be maintained.
As the development has grown and the house numbers increase, the impact per household of us opting out now has lessened. In real terms, despite a rise in the base Council Tax, our comparison against a Band D property is down 3% on last year.
By opting out of the footway lighting scheme but retaining some of the monies we can greatly enhance the services provided in the Parish:
- The retained management and upkeep of Lawley Community Centre
- Extending the provision of a Parish Environmental Team
- Establishing and maintaining the local History Trail
- Providing grants to a wide range of local groups and voluntary organisations
- Organising Community Events – Queens 90th Birthday fun day planned, Christmas event and the annual Lawley Fun Run
We are confident we have made the right decision to opt out of the lighting scheme and to continue to obtain the best value for money we can and to act responsibly on your behalf by keeping costs down but improving services at the same time.