A NEW heating system at the town council offices and the rising cost of emptying dog bins are among the reasons taxpayers in Burnham and Highbridge will pay a fraction more this year.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council increased its share of the council tax bill by 2.62% this week, meaning an average Band D household will pay an extra £2.86 each year, or 5.5p a week.

The town council's overall budget rises from £529,044 to £542,882. Town clerk Eileen Shaw said: “The increase of £13,838 can be accounted for by an increase of £6,600 in the proposed charge for emptying dog bins, and £25,000 to install a new heating system at the Old Courthouse, although other savings elsewhere in the budget amounting to £17,762 have been made.

“It is anticipated that the installation of the new heating system will lead to savings in the cost of heating the Old Courthouse, and the question of how dog bins are emptied and at what cost is currently being reviewed.”

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council has paid Sedgemoor District Council an average of £18,000-a-year for the past three years to empty its dog bins.

However, Mayor Ken Smout said the town council was considering teaming up with other councils, such as Burnham Without and Berrow, which are part of the Coastal Parish Cluster Group, to commission some services together.

Cllr Smout said: “For example, one of the councils could take the lead on dog bins and maybe employ somebody to empty the dog bins in all the parishes.

“If we had a company that provided a service for five councils, surely that would be cheaper?”