Town council to increase tax
TAXPAYERS in Beverley are being asked to pay more so the town council can expand its services.
While the East Riding Council charge will remain the same for the third year running, Beverley Town Council will raise its precept by 7.5 per cent.
It plans to take over some services from East Riding Council.
A small tractor is being leased to cut grass and clear snow from the pavements.
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Mayor Margaret Pinder said: "We're not increasing the precept by 7.5 per cent just to deliver the same service.
"We don't think the town council has been offering enough services.
"At the minute, we offer festivals and allotments but we need to be doing more."
The increase has been met with opposition from Conservatives on the town council.
Councillor Elaine Aird said: "I can see the point of them helping to clear the pavements but I think 7.5 per cent is quite high.
"Any increase for someone on a fixed income can mean them having to cut down on other things.
"These are hard times for everyone. Have the people been asked if they want these extra services?"
Cllr Pinder believes the budget has been planned in detail and will provide good value for money.
She said: "The tractor is on a lease.
"We don't want to invest in kit if it's not going to be used.
"The budget is not just about the tractor."
The precept increase, which amounts to less than £1 a month for someone living in a Band D property, will also go on a range of other activities.
They include supporting efforts to attract more visitors to Beverley.
One idea on the table is to progress plans for a sculpture park on East Riding Council- owned land behind the library.
That proposal is in its infancy but the town council has this year added to its tally of events with the Christmas Festival of Food and Drink at the Minster and significant involvement at the Real Ale Festival at St Mary's Church in Beverley.
As it is trying to attract more visitors, Beverley Town Council hopes win gold in the Yorkshire in Bloom awards this year.
The town has enjoyed significant success over the years. But, even though much of the work is done by volunteers, the success of Beverley's entry can depend on the level of investment from the town council.
Cllr Pinder says she believes the budget, including the increase in the precept, will mean the council is better able to serve the town.
She said: "This budget is designed to make Beverley Town Council fit for purpose.
"We believe that the modest increase of 7.57 per cent on the precept overall will allow us to do this in terms of equipment, staffing and infrastructure."
The town council's precept will be collected as part of the overall council tax bill which residents will receive from East Riding Council.
The town council element will only apply in Beverley parish. People who live in other parishes, such as Molescroft and Woodmansey, will pay the precepts that relate to those smaller authorities.
The bills include charges from the police and fire services.