A legal battle over the HideOut kiosk and an extension of Les Quennevais cemetery have led Parish rates in St. Brelade to be pushed up by 14% this year, according to the Constable.
The rate in the Parish has gone up from 0.96 pence per quarter to 1.10, with the new rate being approved at a Parish Assembly last week - added together with the Island Rate, it makes a total of 01.86 pence per quarter of domestic property.
Non-domestic properties have an island-wide rate of 01.08, which, added to the Parish's rate, gives them a total of 02.19 pence per quarter.
Pictured: A dispute between the Parish and the HideOut kiosk over a a time-limited permit to operate on the slipway has seen the Parish estimate £45,000 in legal costs for 2021/2022.
The new rates were agreed at a Parish Rates Assembly meeting earlier this month.
Constable Mike Jackson said that the new rate was necessary due to a depleted property reserve fund, as well as legal fees from a case that saw the Parish go to a judicial review over the HideOut kiosk on La Pulente slipway.
Constable Jackson explained that "estimates are based on past expenditure and any anticipated increases in the upcoming financial year.
"The Parish has had significant expenditure on a cemetery extension at Les Quennevais, which depleted the property reserve fund significantly. This has been added to in order to enable maintenance on various parish properties that are in need of work."
According to the 2021 Parish Accounts, "a sum of £50,000 was voted from the Property Reserve Fund to cover the costs of a survey and any resulting works arising in respect of field 94 in connection with the need to extend the current cemetery.
"Subsequently, at Parish Assemblies held on 26 May 2020 and 14 July 2020, further sums of £50,000 and £500,000 respectively were approved towards this project.
"During the year ended 30 April 2020, an amount of £53,116 was spent on this matter, with a further £112,919 spent during the current year."
When asked whether legal expenses from a dispute over the HideOut kiosk on La Pulente slipway had contributed to the rate increase, Constable Jackson confirmed this was the case, saying that "we have budgeted £45,000, but hope that amount of expenditure won't be necessary."
Pictured: Constable Mike Jackson said that all parish expenditure is funded by its rates.
The Parish was summoned to a judicial review to analyse a decision made by the Constable to give the HideOut kiosk a time-limited permit to operate on the slipway, which was heard yesterday.
The 2021 accounts show that "unforeseen" legal expenses of £30,571 were paid in 2020/2021, with the aforementioned £45,000 estimated for 2021/2022.
Information revealed following a request under the Freedom of Information Law earlier this year showed that, as of April, legal fees for this case had already cost the parish £27,000.
Outside of this, the Parish also overspent on estimates for both its Social Security and salary payments (by £34,530), and its Parish Hall upkeep and caretaker (by £35,306).
Discussing the salary spend, he said it was a "result of having to employ a financial controller, some grade adjustments and temporary staff cover as a result of sickness and absences."
On the Parish Hall upkeep, Constable Jackson cited work on:
Looking at how the rates are calculated overall, he explained that "broadly the total estimate of expenditure is divided by the number of assessed rates to arrive at the rate" and that these "can be varied at the rates assembly convened in July for the purpose."
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