Helston has set its budget for the next financial year – and it will include a new £16,000 fund for youth work in the town.

The original draft budget proposed by the policy and finance committee would have resulted in a Band D council tax increase of

£3.97 per year, or 2.53% on 2021/22, for an overall spending pot of £587,400.

However, with the additional £16,000 for youth work included the precept – the portion of the council tax claimed by the town council – will now mean an additional £8.35 per year for a Band D property, marking a 5.33% rise on last year.

Town clerk Pamela Lavelle said: "They felt that it's an essential provision. The young people have suffered quite a lot in the recent pandemic and they felt it was an essential provision to have."

However, she added that councillors had decided to investigate all the options further before deciding the best way to spend the new budget, as they did not want to duplicate or work against anything in place already.

Earlier in the evening the council had debated whether to include the extra money for youth work, following a presentation at the November meeting from Councillor Naomi Osmond of Porthleven Town Council.

Porthleven is recruiting two youth workers and it had been suggested by councillor Melissa Benyon that the two councils could work together to improve the offering in both towns.

Currently young people in Helston have available to them: a Cornwall Council youth worker that visits Helston Community college as a drop-in once a month to do some preventative work; Furry Youth Café Supper Club held every Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm and weekly drop-in evenings every Friday from 7pm to 9pm; activities at Culdrose Community Centre every week day; Helston Light and Life Friday Youth Group and Rock Solid on a Sunday.

In addition there are the following groups: Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, Air Cadets, Army Cadets, ACT1, Helston Phoenix Mentoring Project, Helston Training Band and various sports clubs.

Porthleven Town Council is looking to employ a lead youth worker for six hours per week and a youth support worker for five hours per week for a fixed term contract until March 2023 but have not yet been able to recruit for these posts. Councillors heard it was essential for the youth workers to operate in pairs when engaging with the young people.

Porthleven has estimated an annual cost of £7,000 for their needs, but this was considered slightly low for Helston, where a similar service was estimated as costing £9,000 – a £2.46 annual increase for a Band D property or 1.57% increase on the 2021/22 budget, for this element of the overall precept.

Alternatively, members were told that if they wanted to provide a fuller service then a contribution for £16,000 would allow for twice the hourly provision would equate to a £4.38 annual increase for a Band D property or 2.8% increase on the 2021/22 budget.

Councillors opted for the latter, but wanted to look at options more fully before linking with Porthleven or any other service.

Other changes to the 2022/23 council budget include:

Employee-related expenses have risen to include an anticipated 3.05% national insurance increase, an estimated 1% national standard of living increase to salaries and a 4% inflationary increase where appropriate.

Transport-related expenses have been increased to allow for increased lease costs for a larger vehicle to carry an alternative ride-on mower.

Premises-related expenses have been increased to allow for the 4% rise in inflation.

Electricity costs have been increased to allow for additional usage by an electricity-based heating system and an inflationary increase of 24% has also been included based on the planned increase of the energy cap.

The insurance budget has been increased to allow for additional insurance for a new premises.

Other budgets increased include the contract cleaning budget for supplies for the Keep Helston Tidy Events and 4% rise in

inflation, the consultancy and professional fees budget for an increase in external audit fees that had been fixed since 2017, and the signs and noticeboards budget for potential replacement of notice boards.

The play equipment maintenance budget has been reduced by £3,000 and the earmarked reserves to be used to supplement maintenance costs.

The grounds maintenance budget has been increased to buy a flail mower more suitable for the council’s current maintenance commitments.

The defibrillator maintenance budget has been increased to cover the extra work needed, the active partnering and devolution of services budget has been reduced to remove the roundabout refurbishment budget as the current ear marked reserve is sufficient to fund the planting of the final roundabout, and the tree maintenance budget has been increased to allow for additional maintenance and inspection costs following the additional tree planting planned at King George V playing fields.

The CCTV budget has been increased to allow for additional monitoring costs for the new camera at Coronation Park and a 4% inflationary increase, and the marketing budget has been reduced by £2,000.

The town twinning, Flora Day decorations and civic hospitality budgets have been increased due to the reintroduction of event budgets removed from the previous year's budget.