Otley’s Liberal Democrat Town Councillors will propose an alternative budget “to benefit all residents” next week.

The council’s controlling Labour group budget, as reported elsewhere, will be proposed on Monday, January 20 and includes a 17 per cent reduction in the precept.

That follows a 25 per cent precept increase last year that was blasted by the opposition Lib Dem group, who said it demonstrated “profligate spending”.

Lib Dem leader Councillor Jim Spencer (Lib Dem, West Chevin), who will put forward his own party’s budgetary plans on Monday, said: “We do not believe last year’s 25 per cent council tax rise to fund high profile, expensive schemes was good value for money.

“Given that the town council now spends nearly two thirds of the tax it raises from residents on wages and administration, we believe it should be concentrating on being more efficient and prioritising projects which benefit and support local residents. Our proposals for the new financial year are affordable and modest, but designed to benefit all residents.”

Those proposals include:

  • A plant a tree inititiave, where the council would fund the purchase of trees for groups or individual to plant on verges or waste land 
  • Start a Society - creating a fund to help new community groups get started
  • Town council financial backing to extend the 20mph speed limit scheme for Otley’s residential streets to inclue roads north of the river.

Support would also be given to a Gateway Otley project, to prettify the entrances to the town, the Tour de France visit in July, and finding Otley Museum a new, town centre home.

Coun Spencer added: “To do this we do not believe the council tax needs to rise, following last year’s massive increase prudent financial management would mean the council had ample funds.”