Budget and Assets
The Principal source of income for the Council is the annual Precept, funded from the ‘Chearsley’ element of Council Tax paid by Chearsley householders (see your Council Tax Bill for details).
The Council is also able to reclaim VAT on some purchases, reclaimed in the financial year following that in which it was incurred, and takes every opportunity to procure Grants to assist with specific project expenses.
In the Autumn of each year, the Parish Council considers its spending requirements for the following financial year and produces a prioritised but un-costed draft Programme of work. Details are published following adoption at a Council meeting.
This draft Programme provides the input to a budget setting discussion held in November which considers both priorities and the potential costs associated with each item. Parish Councils are severely constrained in their ability to borrow, so this discussion also includes consideration of any larger projects for which the Council wishes to build up funds over a number of years. The Council will also have to hand an estimate of the expected year-end financial position.
The result is a draft budget that provides details of planned expenditure, required year-end reserves and the resultant Precept for the following year. This Budget is adopted and published following confirmation at a special Council Budget Setting meeting held in either December or January (Budget 2023/24).
The expenditure element of the budget is confirmed in April once the actual year-end position is known. It is not however possible to change the Parish Precept at that time. Whilst the Council will endeavour to implement its annual programme in line with the budget plan, it retains the flexibility to deviate from it due to unforeseen circumstances, limited resource or changed priorities. It must however always maintain it spending within the limits of its income plus reserves at the start of the year.
During April, the Council publishes Annual Accounts providing details of its income and expenditure for the Financial year just ended.
Parish Council accounts do not differentiate spending on current and capital items. They are purely cash based. However, the Council does have ownership of some limited assets and an Asset Register is maintained. This Register is updated during the year, as required.