FUNDING of up to £6,000 is to be made available to ensure Ringwood has a Christmas tree for this year’s festivities.

The arrangements for a town Christmas tree in Market Place were discussed during a meeting of Ringwood Town Council on Wednesday July 28.

The meeting heard a budget of £6,000 was previously approved, to be funded from the events reserve, which was thought to be a “one-off” decision - meaning there was no provision made in the budget for this year.

The expenditure last year on the Christmas tree, the council heard, was £4529.

Mayor, Councillor Tony Ring said historically the town council paid for the Christmas tree and that when the events committee was formed providing a tree was part of the festive celebrations organised by that committee.

Councillor Jeremy Heron said the budget of £6,000 created in September was due to the it being “very close” to December and to make sure there was sufficient funds to cover the costs. He added: “We were all fairly mindful that we were being a tad over enthusiastic on that figure.

“It was just the options were closing down on us and we needed to make sure that we weren’t the town that didn’t have a Christmas tree.”

He said a budget of at least £5,000 was necessary, which included dressing the tree, and could be taken from one of the council’s reserves.

“It needs to be something that is agreed and put in year on year. We don’t want to keep having this conversation.”

Councillor Philip Day was concerned if money was taken from one of the reserves it should be “credited back to the same pot” it came from.

Cllr Heron suggested a budget of up to £6,000 be approved and funded from general reserves, and this expenditure would be “ongoing” year on year.

He said when the council came to setting the budget for next year the finance committee would look to offset that expenditure to manage the effect on the precept.

These recommendations put forward to council officers were agreed by councillors.


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