Fire Authority sets precept for the next year

The official logo of the Avon Fire AuthorityMembers of Avon Fire Authority (AFA) today (Friday 8 February 2013) voted for a small increase in the Fire Council Tax precept for 2013/14.

It means the annual bill for a Band D property will rise from £62.77 to £64.02, an increase of £1.25, or 1.99%. That is about 10p per month.

AFA members considered two budget options for the next year, the increase outlined above, and also a Council Tax freeze.

Freezing the precept would have meant the use of an additional £171,000 of reserves, above the £300,000 already earmarked.

This year’s Government grant settlement represented a 8.7% reduction on the previous year, continuing the downward trend of central funding in recent years.

The Government grant represents around half of Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s total income, with the remainder coming from Council Tax payers.

The savings target for the year is £2.271 million and the Revenue Budget is set at £44.8 million after the use of reserves.

Avon Fire Authority Chair Councillor Terry Walker said: “We are acutely aware of the continuing pressure being faced by household budgets, and have not taken the decision to increase the precept at all lightly.

“As a Fire Authority we have a duty to ensure that an effective fire and rescue service is in place to serve our communities.

“The modern service is about far more than fighting fires; in recent months we have played a huge role in helping people affected by severe flooding, for example.

“We need to ensure that we are still able to provide that kind of vital service, when people need us the most, and members felt that the most cost-effective way of doing this was to vote for a 10p per month increase in Council Tax precept.”