About Parish Councils
Town & Parish Councils are the lowest tier of government in this country and do not receive any direct funding from central government. The Parish Council receives the majority of its funding by issuing a Precept each year which is collected by the Principal Authority (North Somerset Council) through the Annual Council Tax.
The Precept is the annual amount of money the Parish Council needs to fulfill its services (playgrounds, open land, closed churchyard, allotments and maintenance of council owned property etc.) and is the difference between money it receives (income from charges and lettings etc.) and its expenditure (staff costs, grants and maintenance of infrastructure etc.). Each Autumn the Parish Council prepares a Budget for the forthcoming fiscal year. In December the Council formally agrees the Precept, based on the Budget, for the next fiscal year and will ask the Principal Authority to collect it. Details of the Council's Precept may be found on your Council Tax Demand.
Public participation at meetings
All Council meetings are open to the public and press although, very occasionally, it may be necessary to exclude the public and press from part or all of the meeting due to the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons.
There is a public participation session at the start of every meeting which usually lasts for a maximum of 15 minutes although this can be extended at the discretion of the Chairman. During this public participation session:
- Each member of public is entitled to speak once and for no more than 5 minutes;
- The Council is not obliged to answer any question raised or to start a debate on the question;
- The Chairman may refer a question to a Councillor or the Clerk for a verbal or written response but is not obliged to do so;
- Comments and questions should be directed to the Chairman.
Congresbury Parish Council has twelve places for Councillors who are elected every four years at General Council Elections. Councillors are not paid for their services but may receive travelling expenses for attending meetings or activities outside the parish. Each May, at the Annual Parish Council Meeting, the Councillors elect one member to be the Chairman of Council for the forthcoming year. Councillors, including the Chairman, have no more power or authority than any other person in the Parish. It is when the Council sits as a corporate body that it derives its power.
The Council is obliged to have a person, to be its Proper Officer - called the Clerk to the Council or Parish Clerk. It is also required to appoint a person to be responsible for the finances of the Council - the Responsible Finance Officer (RFO).