Leader of Frome Town Council, Cllr Lisa Merryweather, has taken the unprecedented step of making a statement regarding Frome’s response to Somerset Council’s financial crisis, ahead of Frome Town Council’s upcoming budget setting meeting for on 17th January. This follows a very uncertain period where Somerset Council have been public about financial difficulties, and the measures that it will have to take to save over 80 million pounds this year.
Cllr Merryweather said: “We are facing some difficult times, as Somerset Council works out how to deal with the financial emergency it faces. SCC can no longer afford to offer the range of services, and the diversity of open spaces, that fall within its remit. This will have a direct impact on our town, and each and every one of us will feel this in different ways.
We believe that Frome Town Council has a role to play in trying to reduce the impact on you. Unfortunately, Somerset Council is still in the process of deciding where savings will be made, and therefore none of us knows for sure the full impact of these cuts. Our open spaces could be sold off to developers, the Market Yard loos could be shut, and worse. The future is not clear. However, Frome councillors believe we need to be prepared, and in a position to pick up some of these vital amenities that will otherwise be lost.
As yet, nobody knows precisely what shape this will take. We will need to be agile to be able to respond to Somerset Council’s crisis and we certainly are not in a position to bail them out. We won’t put money in to prop up long and unmanageable contracts that are already ineffective. However, we are planning to set our budget in January as a response to Somerset’s financial emergency, to be in a position to take on some of those invaluable services and amenities which we anticipate will be cut. We anticipate that any increase to your council tax payment to Frome Town Council will be less than an additional £1.07 per week for most households, with many paying less. Those currently exempt from council tax will remain exempt.
This will involve some hard decisions and will increase our budget, but please know that we at Frome Town Council will continue to work with the community and partners to support our residents and offer the very best value for money for the people of Frome.”
As a result of Somerset Council’s declaration of a financial emergency, it is widely believed that the council tax precept payable to Frome Town Council in 2024/25 will rise, as FTC seek to take over some of the assets, amenities and services from Somerset Council. All residents are welcome to attend the meeting that will set the precept for Frome Town Council on the 17th January at 7pm, at Frome Town Hall.