By EXCLUSIVE by Thursday 07 March 2013 Updated: 08/03 09:07
PARISH councils, including those in Alvechurch, Beoley and Wythall, should be abolished according to the leader of Bromsgrove District Council.
Coun Roger Hollingworth, who represents Alvechurch, said the third tier of local government was an extra level of bureaucracy the public should not have to pay for, while most of the time issues were simply passed on to the district council to deal with.
"There is the odd thing they do where people benefit, but overall I don't think they are value for money - most of the funding goes on administration," he told the Standard.
"In Alvechurch, the precept is £100,000 and £50,000 goes on people sitting in the office."
Coun Hollingworth added having parish councils was also putting a strain on the district council's stretched finances as they had to find £42,000 extra to pay for them in 2013/14, caused by the Government changing the way in which the the number of D band equivalent homes is calculated.
Residents living in an area with a parish council fund them through an extra charge on their Council Tax bill, known as the precept.
Of the 19 parish councils across Bromsgrove district, Alvechurch residents collectively pay the most and in 2013/14 will fork out £48.44 each a year on an average Band D property.
Parish councils can also increase their precept by any amount they want as they are not capped at 1.99 per cent like district and county councils, although in reality they account for just one per cent of the total bill.
Coun John Cypher, chairman of Alvechurch Parish Council, said at a time when Bromsgrove District Council was looking to cut councillor numbers the claims made did not make sense.
"It's an odd set of comments given the Government's interest in localism. Parish councils are the best form of localism you can get," he said.
"It doesn't say much about the way democracy may operate in the future."
He added parish councils covered large areas and did provide value for money.
In order for a parish council to be disbanded, a request needs to be made by the public.
Coun Hollingworth is meeting with Bromsgrove Labour leader Coun Peter McDonald in the coming weeks to discuss the issue.
Residents are being asked for their views and are urged to email email@example.com or write to R.Hollingworth, Council House, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove.
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