The financial plight of Northamptonshire County Council continues to make the news headlines; fortunately we do not have that problem in Ashton.
In the main, this is because we manage our finances prudently, taking care to live within our means and keep adequate reserves for unexpected spending demands. That said, most things go up in price, year on year, especially the unavoidable spending on things like electricity for street lights, insurance, mowing and grounds maintenance and yes, the Clerk's salary!
To maintain our financial position, the precept -
Whilst the leaflet that accompanies your Council Tax bill next month will probably show this as a 10% increase for Ashton, that does not mean that you will be paying 10% more, rather it reflects the fact that the building of more and bigger houses in Ashton means there are more people paying more money into the Council Tax pot, so we increase the precept demand to South Northants Council to make sure that we , the Council claim our share of that money on your behalf, to spend in and on Ashton.
I hope this makes sense; if not, please do get in touch.
14th February 2018 at 7.15pm:
13th February 2018 at 7.30pm
To view or download copies of the minutes of Parish Council meetings, please click HERE.
Role of the Council
There are some 8,500 parish councils in England, where they form the lowest tier of local government. They are not involved with the administration of religious parishes; that is the preserve of the parochial church councils, with whom parish councils are sometimes confused.
All councils are constituted in the same way; councillors are elected by the local government electorate and serve for a period of 4 years. The number of councillors is fixed by the principal council ie South Northants Council (SNC). Ashton Parish Council has seven councillors, who serve voluntarily and are unpaid. The Council is supported and its business administered by a paid Clerk, whose full title is Clerk and Proper Officer as the role has duties and responsibilities under the law.
Each council has a Chair, who must be one of the elected councillors. The Chair is elected annually by the councillors at the annual meeting in May. The council is a body corporate and thus its lawful acts, assets and liabilities are its own and not those of its councillors or any other council. Individual councillors cannot make decisions in isolation.
All parish councils have discretionary powers and rights laid down by Parliament to represent their communities and provide services for them. Recent government policy and legislation has been to develop through ‘localism’ and thus parish councils are encouraged to act as a focus for local opinion as well as providing ways to get things done in a manner that is best suited to their local community. A council must act within the law. It can only spend, raise or use money if it has a statutory power to do so, otherwise it acts ultra vires (beyond its powers). Parish councils have a wide range of powers under different acts of Parliament. Most of these powers are discretionary, i.e. a council may do something, rather than it must do something.
As the lowest tier of democratically elected representatives in the country, parish councils have the mandate to speak on behalf of the people they represent. It is important to note that whilst parish councils are consulted by the principal council (SNC) on planning applications, they do not decide whether permission is granted or refused; that decision falls to the Planning Authority (SNC), not the parish council.
A parish council has the unfettered right to raise money by precept (a mandatory demand) on the principal council (SNC). The precept required by a parish council is then collected by the principal council as part of the council tax levied on tax payers in that parish.
There are certain obligations which by law a parish council must fulfil. For example: