About 30 parishioners backed a proposal from the Constable, Ken Le Brun, to set the rate at 1.1p per quarter for the financial year ahead. They also supported a proposal to donate £3,000 toward the costs of buying a second-hand minibus to be used by the community centre, school, the thriving kids club and the parish itself to ferry around pensioners. Householders will also pay an extra 0.63p per quarter and businesses 1.15p per quarter to cover the Islandwide rate. Mr Le Brun said that the parish was able to keep the rate at the same level as last year even though it was still funding improvements to the parish hall. ‘We have had for a few years some major projects, including work on the community centre, the Rectory and the parish hall,’ he said. The Constable said that he liked to think that prudent budgeting was the reason that it had been possible to keep the rate at the same level. Many St Mary residents would have feared a considerable hike in the rates as the Island moved towards a more balanced system where the rural parishes would make a proportionately larger contribution to central funds under the new Islandwide rates system. However, Mr Le Brun said that the parish had spread the costs of its projects over a number of years and had, in effect, been able to cushion the blow. ‘We upped the rate slightly last year but not by much. This year we carried forward a balance of over £56,000,’ he said. With regard to the minibus, Mr Le Brun said that parishioners were happy to support the proposal of making a contribution towards it because it will be well used. He said that £3,000 had already been raised, so £6,000 was a good starting point. ‘I think they are looking at taking out a loan and making repayments over a number of years,’ he said. He said that the 1.1p rate will help the parish raise the £226,552 it needs to meet the estimates that were approved. The overall total that will be raised from levying the combined domestic and business Islandwide rates and the parish rate will be £375,407 calculated from over 20 million quarters. Meanwhile, the assembly also approved the appointment of Glynn Bower as the new chairman of the St Mary Youth and Community Centre Committee.
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