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Otley 'parish tax' to be cut by 17 per cent
Otley householders are set to see their annual ‘parish tax’ slashed by 17 per cent.
The big cut will be proposed in the Town Council Labour group’s new budget – and follows a 25 per cent hike last year.
That increase, partly to fund the creation of the Otley Core Resource Centre and Orchard Gate toilets revamp, saw Band D householders paying an extra £14.30 in 2013-14.
Residents are now set to see the precept fall close to its previous level – with a total levy of £265,000 – if the new budget is approved next week.
Councillor Carl Morris (Lab, Manor) said: “We’ve had some big projects recently but this budget is going to be more about consolidation and putting some money aside for the future.
“The two headline features are the big reduction in the precept, which is almost an exact reversal of the rather skewed increase we had last time, and the focus on the Tour de France.
“We said last year that we’d give back the grant money we got from Leeds that there was confusion over, and though some were sceptical that’s what we’re proposing to do.
“We’re also proposing to put our capital reserves up to about £40,000 and they will go up every year now as we look to have money available to support the Civic Centre.
“The Tour de France is a huge event for the town and a massive opportunity, and we’re looking to have two big schemes for that, both supported by £5,000.”
The first of those will involve the Voice Your Choice initiative, which this year will be dedicated to Tour de France legacy projects based, as always, on ideas from the community.
The second will be on supporting facilities and attractions on the day of the tour itself.
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said: “We’re looking to have commemorative goods like mugs and T-shirts to sell, which is a great way of promoting the town.
“We also expect the toilets to be very busy and to bring in some extra income, while the Town Partnership are putting a big screen up in the Market Place.
“We’re expecting about 18,000 people in Otley on the day so there should be a lot happening and there’s also a 100-day countdown of events beforehand that local groups are getting involved in.”
Other features of the budget, which town councillors will debate on Monday, January 20, include continuing support for the Citizens Advice Bureau’s fuel poverty initiative, which is backed by £4,000.
The biggest expenditure listed for the year to come is, as usual, on administration which totals £167,950 - the lion’s share of which is for council staff salaries.
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