2021/22 Town Council Budget Survey

The Town Council is in the process of developing its Revenue and Capital Budget for the 2021/22 financial year.

The Town Council is very aware that 2020 has been a difficult year for the community of Great Aycliffe with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic affecting the lives and financial situations of us all.

The lockdown periods, social distancing measures and other restrictions have meant that the Town Council has not been able to provide some of its services this year and has unfortunately led to a number of much valued community events  such as the senior citizens’ trips, fun in the parks and fireworks display being cancelled.

The Town Council wishes to recognise the impact of the pandemic on local services and the community of Great Aycliffe as a whole in two ways next year.

Firstly we have prepared our budget for next year on the basis of a freeze in the Town Council proportion of the Council Tax bill.

Despite this proposed council tax freeze, thanks to the prudent financial management of the Council and the ongoing delivery of efficiency savings, the proposed 2021/22 Revenue Budget will still enable all current Town Council services, facilities and events to be provided to the usual high standards next year, whilst the Town Council will continue to make investment in community assets via our Capital Programme Budget.

The Council also wishes to pass back the savings it has made in the current year, as a result of reduced services and cancelled events, to the community, by setting up a COVID-19 Recovery Fund and using this to make a number of one-off investments next year to help make 2021 a better year for the community.

Initial ideas for investment include the setup of a community grants fund, additional or improved events, and environmental improvements such as tree planting.

Clearly the budget that we set is important to our local community, both in terms of how our spending plans may impact on the provision of local services and investment in assets for the benefit of the town, and in terms of the level of Council Tax that we need to raise from local taxpayers in order to fund these plans. 

The Council would therefore very much welcome the views of the local community on our 2021/22 budget proposals and you can provide your views via this Budget Survey.

There is much more information on the Council’s draft 2021/22 budget proposals, should you wish to read this, on the finance section of the Council’s website.

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* 1. Value for Money

Having considered all of the services provided by the Town Council (including parks, play areas, cemeteries, allotments, community events, green open space, pre-school, sports complex, golf course and driving range) do you feel that the Town Council Tax of £166.72 per year (£3.21 per week) provides value for money?

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* 2. 2021/22 Budget and Proposed Council Tax Freeze

All things considered, are you in support of the 2021/22 Council Budget and the proposed freeze in the Town Council Tax next year?

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* 3. Do you have any specific comments to make on the 2021/22 budget proposals and what, if any, changes would you like to see in the final budget?

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* 4. COVID-19 Recovery Fund

The Council has made savings in the current financial year as a result of the unfortunate cancellation of a number of community events including the senior citizens’ trips, fun in the parks and fireworks display. We are proposing to set aside these savings in a COVID-19 Recovery Fund and pass these back to the local community next year via a number of one-off investments.

Are you in favour of passing back the savings made by the Council this year as a result of cancelled events and reduced services during the Coronavirus pandemic via a COVID-19 Recovery Fund?

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* 5. COVID-19 Recovery Fund Investment Ideas

Initial ideas for investment include the setup of a community grants fund, additional or improved events, and environmental improvements such as tree planting and wildflower meadows. Do you have any specific ideas for how you would like to see this money allocated and invested?

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* 6. Which Council Services are most important to you i.e. where budget cuts should not be made and where any additional future investment should be targeted?

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* 7. Which Council Services are least important to you i.e. where budget cuts, if they are required in the future,  should be targeted?

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* 8. Additional Investments / New Services

Are there any new services or initiatives in which you would like to see the Town Council make investment in the future, either by raising the Town Council Tax or by reducing spending in existing service areas?

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* 9. Do you have any other comments that you wish to make about the Council and the services it provides, or do you have any issues or concerns that you wish to raise?

Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this survey and for the valuable comments and feedback that you have provided.

The results from this questionnaire will be reported to the Council and taken into consideration in the setting of the final 2021/22 Revenue and Capital Budget in January 2021.

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