Council defends money spent on stamps
POSTAGE has cost Tewkesbury Borough Council a total of £220,741 in the last three years.
In an age of communication where email has often replaced letters, the figure will shock some taxpayers in the borough.
It was obtained by the Echo through a Freedom of Information request.
The breakdown of the details released by the council show that it spent £74,772 on postage in the 2011/12 financial year. The figure for 2010/11 was £69,954 and for 2009/10 it was £78,014.
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But Tewkesbury spent far less on increasingly expensive stamps than the Forest of Dean District Council and Stroud District Council. The former spent £526,493 and the latter £456,721 over the last three years.
Tewkesbury's director of resources George Hill said: "The amount of nearly £75,000 for 2011/12 is not high when you consider that a large proportion of this is a legal requirement.
"Over £50,000 of it relates to council tax and benefits. We had to send out council tax bills and booklets to all residential properties within the borough, which was over 30,000."
Mr Hill said that, by law, reminders for missed payments and to those in arrears had to be sent in the post and by first class.
He added: "In terms of benefits, we send out statements and some cheques. The total cost of postage includes the cost of receiving and returning original documents such as birth certificates and passports.
"In addition to council tax and benefits, we also prepare a register of electors each year, which requires us to send a letter to each household within the borough."
The figures also show Tewkesbury Borough Council has managed to reduce some of its other stationery costs over the last three years.
The amount spent on printing, for example, went from £27,450 in 2009/10 to £16,405 in 20011/12. But more was spent on printer cartridges, rising from £1,256 to £1,549.