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Whitby Town Council Considering Council Tax Rise as Costs Increase and Income Falls

Wednesday, 6 December 2023 16:21

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter

Whitby residents could see their council tax bills go up from next year due to rising costs and reduced income for the authority.

Members of Whitby Town Council’s finance policy committee have drafted a budget that could see an increase in council tax bills.

The council is facing rising costs and could see its income reduced by almost 20 per cent down to £164,000 from £203,000 this year.

According to the budget, the council’s income from its public toilets has gone down from £55,000 to just £15,000 – a decrease of 72 per cent.

The draft budget proposes an annual rise in the Band D equivalent council tax of £25.68 per year or 49p per week.

It would follow an increase in council tax that was approved by councillors in January when they approved an annual rise in the Band D equivalent council tax of £10.00 or 19p per week.

However, committee members have said that they will also prepare an alternative draft budget and that councillors are invited to suggest ways to limit the council tax rise.

As it stands, the draft budget would see an almost £90,000 increase in the council’s annual expenditure, rising to £576,925 for 2024-25.

The authority is set to see major increases in its expenditure due to inflation, salaries, town polls, and other projects and upgrades.

The council’s audit costs are projected to rocket from £1,700 a year to £21,700 – an increase of more than 1,176 per cent.

Meanwhile, a planned re-design of Whitby Town Council’s website could see allocated costs increase from £400 to £2,900.

Councillor Asa Jones, a member of the finance policy committee, said:

“I suggested at the meeting that the recommended budget not be approved and sent to full council.

“Instead, [I proposed that] a new draft budget be produced that increases the charge for using the toilets as well as not redesigning the website and not purchasing computer tablets for councillors in the hope that an increase in council tax can be significantly reduced.”

"Whilst legally the Town Council has until the 1st March 2024 to decide the precept next year, North Yorkshire Council have set a deadline in early January 2024 which has limited the time the council has to explore options with next year’s budget."

Several larger councils across the country have effectively declared bankruptcy recently due to rising costs and inflation, with many others are cutting back on services.

An extraordinary full council meeting is set to be held on Tuesday, December 12 although the council has until next year to approve the budget.

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