Proposal for the Parish Council to Contribute to a Part Time Bus Service
The Winterborne Valley Transport Group have received an offer from a local bus company to provide a once a day bus service through Winterbourne Abbas, Winterbourne Steepleton and Winterborne St Martin. The bus would provide a route towards Dorchester in the early afternoon, approximately 2pm. Passengers could then make a return journey on one of the later afternoon regular services that are already in place.
The service would only run on school days, therefore weekdays only in school term time. The bus company need a contribution of £2,850 per year to operate this service. Passengers would be able to use a concessionary bus pass if they have one. The County Council are unable to contribute to the cost of the provision of this service therefore a request has been made to the Parish Council.
If this was agreed by the Parish Council it would result in an increase in annual expenditure which would be a direct increase in the Parish Council element of your Council Tax bill.
Currently the Parish Council precept totals £5,500. Therefore this would be an increase of approximately 52% in the Parish Council element of your Council Tax bill. The 2018/19 (figures for 19/20 not yet available on Dorset for You) Parish Council precept was £16.98 per year for a Band D property. An increase of 52% on that would be approximately £25.81 on a Band D property. The Parish Council has already set its precept for 2019/20 – therefore if a payment was required during that year the required increase in 2020/21 would be £5,700 to repay the 2019/20 contribution and pay for the 2020/21 contribution. This assumes the contribution amount remains the same which is not guaranteed.
If the Parish Council had to cover two years bus service contribution in 2020/21 this would increase the Parish Council Precept element of your Council Tax bill in that year to approximately £35 on a Band D property. These figures are approximate and do not include any additional increase which might be required in the Parish Council precept alongside the contribution for the Bus Service. There is no guarantee that the service will be used by passengers every day. There are already additional transport provisions that are not fully utilised. The Parish Council is also speaking with Councillors at Winterbourne Abbas and Steepleton about sharing the cost. This is a very clear example of the increases in costs which might fall to the Parish Council if they wish to provide services which can no longer be funded by the new Unitary Authority due to cutbacks in central government funding and increase social care costs. Therefore this may be the first of many such questions the Parish Council has to consider.
As the cost of the proposed service would fall directly to you – the residents and Council Tax payers – it is important we gather your opinion. We will circulate a note to all addresses in the village and hope you will be able to respond to the Parish Council.