TAX payers should expect to pay more each month to fund Salisbury City Council this year.

Salisbury City Council shared its draft budget for 2024/25 with residents at The Guildhall on Monday, December 4. 

But the budget and precept recommendations will be discussed by the council for the first time at a Finance and Governance Committee meeting on Monday, January 15.

It comes after a budget consultation process which took place during August and September.

Salisbury City Council's precept for 2024/25 has been calculated as £5,642,672 which equates to a precept per band D property of £364 - an increase of £29 or 8.66 per cent.

This is lower than the £39 per year figure that was proposed at the council's draft budget meeting in Salisbury Guildhall on December 6, 2023.

However, around 60 per cent of properties in Salisbury are below band D and actual parish precept levels would vary from £242.66 per annum (band A) to £727.98 per annum (band H).

The budget papers state that if councillors determine at the meeting that there should be a lower precept set, Salisbury City Council will "need to identify adequate and appropriate savings and/or other sources of income to make up for it".

This could include further increases in service fees, the cessation or diminution of planned services, the sale of investment properties or other significant assets, noting the potential consequential loss of future income, or postponements to capital projects.

Why is the precept rising?

Notable cost pressures affecting the council's budget include a Local Government pay award for 2023/24 averaging 8 per cent and the increase in the Foundation Living Wage to £12.00.

Consistent rises in utility charges are also putting pressure on the council's budget.

Once the precept is agreed upon by members of the committee, the decision will be recommended to the Full Council on January 22 for adoption.

Members will also decide on a four-year income and expenditure plan from 2023/24 to 2026/27.

Last year, Salisbury City Council increased the precept by 44 per cent.

A former councillor then pushed for a parish poll, which cost the city almost £40k, to ask whether voters supported a five per cent cap on future increases to the Salisbury City Council precept and a parish consultation if any proposed increase is larger than five per cent.

This is the policy for unitary authorities, such as Wiltshire Council, but there is no limit on how high a parish council can raise its tax.

Just 3.9 per cent of the city's population took part in the poll and the proposal was not adopted by Salisbury City Council which is why there will be no parish consultation for the 8.66 per cent rise.