Hike in special expenses tax in Daventry town explained

Special expenses have risen this year
Special expenses have risen this year

Daventry town residents were surprised to see a 38.3 per cent increase in special expenses when they received their council tax bills through the post this month.

Many have since expressed their disbelief at the hike and asked for an explanation as to why it has gone from £55.89 in 2017/18, to £77.28 in 2018/19.

Special expenses cover the cost of maintaining places like the Holy Cross churchyard, open spaces like the Rec and cemeteries in Daventry.

Since striking a deal with environmental service agency Norse, Daventry District Council says it has "much better information on the actual costs of waste management and maintaining open spaces", as stated in its 2018/19 Capital and Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan published in February.

DDC has a policy of increasing council tax yearly by the amount permitted by Government without calling a referendum (currently 3 per cent), or by £5 for each average Band D property, whichever is higher. At the moment for DDC the £5 is higher.

But if special expenses change, the amount of increase allowed for council tax is affected; higher special expenses mean less increase in council tax, and vice versa.

As a result of this, Daventry town residents have seen a 0.8 per cent hike in council tax for 2018/19, compared to 3.5 per cent in 2017/18.

"For Daventry District, the only large special expenses account is for Daventry town. This is a result of DDC owning large areas of open space in Daventry which needs to be maintained, as well as some other items which are specific to the town," states the report.

"There is a handful of other special expenses, dealing with closed churchyards in villages, but these are not large enough to have a significant effect on the General Fund Council Tax.

"Under the new arrangements for environmental services, the council will have better information on the actual costs of maintaining open spaces in Daventry.

"This will have the effect of increasing the Daventry town special expenses. This will actually 'soak up' most of the £5 permitted increase, so the General Fund Council Tax next year will not be able to increase very much."

The special expenses budget in the report show that in 2017/18 the net expenditure was £364,975. For 2018/19, that total stands at £524,335.