Double taxation bill for Barney residents revealed
TAXPAYERS in Barnard Castle are paying £35,822 to fund town council services that could be provided by the county council, according to a report.
Durham County Council used to provide a “double taxation grant” to parish councils so residents were not paying twice for some public services. Double taxation can happen when a service is delegated from a larger council to a smaller one without funding being passed on to cover the costs – for example Barnard Castle Town Council taking over the management of The Demesnes from County Hall. This results in the smaller town or parish council increasing the precept it levies on residents.
Or in other cases, a bigger authority carries out a certain function in some places but not others – for example Durham County Council paying for Christmas lights in Chester-le-Street but not in Barnard Castle. This means some residents pay for the service in their town or parish through its precept and also contribute to the cost elsewhere.
At their annual meeting, members of Barnard Castle Town Council were given the cost of services the county council could provide in theory. They are £50 for the bus shelter at Bede Road, £200 for dog fouling, £6,500 for Christmas lights, £9,500 for public open spaces and floral displays, £14,000 for play areas and playing fields, £5,072 for public loos and £500 for war memorials.
Council clerk Michael King told councillors that the double taxation grant is unlikely to return.
He said: “It will be lovely if they did do this but they haven’t done this for a number of years because the amount of grant they receive from central government has severely reduced.”
Meanwhile, Barnard Castle’s assets – which range from noticeboards, allotments and office equipment to war memorials and mayoral chains – have been audited as having a value of £464,666.82.
However, Mr King told councillors that the list, presented at the annual meeting, was audited at the price items were purchased for and this did not include depreciation. The assets are said to have an insurance value of £339,778.37.