Council wants residents who spend a penny to pay more in local taxes


The move, if approved, could see other councils following suit, meaning that householders in areas that benefit from certain extra services – such as public toilets – will have to pay a ‘special expense’ on their annual tax bill.

‘Special expenses’ are currently used to fund things like local parks, playgrounds and allotments, but Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [TMBC] now want to expand the scheme to cover services such as public toilets and Christmas lights.

The Council says the plan will make it fairer on taxpayers, as those in areas that do not benefit from these services will not have to pay for them.

Residents in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Wealden have already been asked to pay for some extra services previously included in Council Tax, such as the disposal of garden waste.

And if the new scheme goes ahead, it could see other Councils begin to charge for other services, although Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have said they are currently ‘not considering’ meeting the costs of the public toilets from special expenses.

Tonbridge Council says its proposal, which has opened to consultation from residents, would mean people in most areas would see a slight reduction in council tax bills, although those who live in Tonbridge and West Malling will have to pay more.

TMBC’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Innovation and Property, Cllr Martin Coffin, said: “We want to make sure that charging for additional services which benefit some parts of the Borough more than others is as fair as possible.

“These changes would mean bills are more closely aligned to the provision of public toilets and Christmas lights where they are provided.

“We are genuinely interested in hearing what residents have to say about these proposals, and hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to share their views. It’s also worth emphasising that the consultation is about how these services are funded and not whether they are provided.”

The consultation, available on TMBC’s website [], is open until Tuesday July 20.

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