On Tuesday 9th January, Shepton Mallet Town Council agreed its budget for 2024-2025 and the amount of precept it would be levying on Somerset Council, an increase of £1.86 per week for a Band D household.

The Town Council precept is the portion of the Council Tax that plays a vital role in funding local services, improving facilities, supporting local organisations and activities, and influencing development.

In response to Somerset Council’s financial emergency and potential cuts to non-essential services like litter picking, non-core highway maintenance, public toilets, and more, Shepton Mallet Town Council is stepping up. We consider these services vital for our residents’ quality of life and have allocated a budget to ensure their continuity if Somerset Council decides to cease funding or discontinue them.

Every local town and parish council is being asked to potentially pick up the shortfall and take ownership of these services. If the councils don’t do so, there is a very significant risk the services disappear.

As the first tier of local government, City, Town, and Parish Councils are closest to the community they serve. All the money collected as a precept stays within Shepton Mallet, benefitting the local area directly.

Council Tax bills are made up of a number of services; Somerset Council, Policy, Fire and Rescue, Rivers Authority and the Town Council. The Town Council’s part is only 10% of the current bill. For the 2024-2025 precept, the cost per Band D equivalent will be £5.88 per week or £25.46 per month.

This year’s budget, formulated through a thorough process involving committee rounds, public workshops, and scrutiny, will support economic regeneration, town improvements, community organisations, outdoor spaces, events, amenities and more.