Extra costs for web and pests


Charges are soon to be increased for the use of the internet and the removal of pests.

Central Beds Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee will discuss its fees and charges for 2014/15 at a meeting on Wednesday.

For the first time people who go to their local library to gain access to the internet will have to pay for lengthier stays.

At the moment the internet is completely fee for everyone.

But now the service will be free for the first two hours daily, after which web surfers will be charged a fee of £1 per hour.

There will also be added charges for the removal of pests. At present the council will send out staff to eradicate rats, mice, bedbugs and cockroaches for free if it is the property’s first infestation to be treated in a year.

Charges are made for subsequent infestations. But now there will be a flat rate of £60 for each call out of the council’s pest control services to get rid of these animals, with a half price rate for concessions.

The charges to remove wasps, ants and fleas have also been increased slightly.

The meeting report states: “The annual review and setting of the council’s fees and charges are integral to the council’s budget strategy and the legal requirement to have a balanced budget.

“The review ensures a rigorous, responsible and realistic approach is taken to determine the appropriateness and relevance of the council’s schedule of fees and charges.

“The council has various powers to charge for aspects of the services it provides.

“The general rule is that when it is carrying out a statutory duty the council can only make a charge where there is specific power to do so.

“When the council is providing a discretionary service it may charge for the service provided the person receiving the service has agreed to is provision.

“Overall the income from such charges must not exceed the cost of the provision.”

Discussing the risks of increasing fees it says: “Subject to the level of increase and in view of the current financial climate services might become unaffordable to some members of the community, which may impact take-up and therefore overall income levels.

“Those paying fees and charges may perceive that a higher than expected increase on any given area will be used to cross-subsidise increased costs of other service areas.”