Trim the budget or the hedges?

Helston residents could end up feeling the pinch after the town council voted for a rise of more than £100,000 on its council tax precept.

Revenue generated through council tax is split between three parties; Cornwall Council, Devon & Cornwall Police and local parish and town councils.

An average Band D property had a bill of £1,772.29 in 2018, with parish and town councils receiving £115.20. The increase would mean a rise of £30 per household.

The extra money aims to fund several projects including an increase to the community grants budget from £8,000 to £20,000.

The main proportion of the increase is being set aside to employ two additional maintanence workers, currently carried out by one employee and outside contractors.

The town council has taken care of parks and play areas for many years, yet has recently taken control of roundabouts at either end of the link road between the Falmouth Road and Helston Rugby Club.

Helston Council now wants to take control of cutting the grass verges and footpaths around the town, which would allow trimming to take place when it was needed rather than being in the hands of the county council, who only cut the foliage when there is a safety issue.

Critics argue that Cornwall Council has a statutory duty to carry out the work so residents would end up paying twice. Two of the 12 councillors are believed to have voted against the increase for this reason.

It’s no secret that I have been a vocal critic of the appalling appearance of Helston town at times. Through this column I have highlighted overgrown verges and hedgerows on many occasions, so I applaud the council taking the initiative to address the problem.

Due to the volume of similar comments I have received over the years about the issue, I think it would be fair to say the work is not currently being carried out adequately.

If two councils disagree on the frequency of cutting a logical solution is for the town council to take on the work themselves.

With the increase set to cost each household roughly £2.50 per month (an increase of 1.6%), do you feel it is money well spent?

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