Keighley Town Council’s precept for 2014/15 will go up by just 1.79 per cent despite fears of a record-breaking hike earlier this year.
The council accepted the rise in a named vote, with 14 voting in favour, nine against and two abstaining.
Earlier in last Thursday’s debate, finance committee chairman Councillor John Phillip explained the previous proposal for a 2.66 per cent rise had been revised downwards because the council’s allotments and landscapes committee had reduced its own budget by £4,000.
The 1.79 per cent decision contrasts sharply with the controversial, record rise of 72.6 per cent for the 2013/14 town council precept.
And late last year, Keighley’s mayor, Councillor Sally Walker, warned ratepayers to brace themselves for a potentially severe impact on the precept for 2014/15.
But the smaller increase agreed last week means households in the benchmark band D category will pay £42.69 – just 75p more than last year. Most Keighley homes will pay less, as they fall in the cheaper A, B and C bands.
Coun Phillip had warned fellow councillors the proposed budget had not been agreed by the finance committee, and that it would be up to the full council to reach a decision that night.
Watch and transport committee chairman Coun Graham Mitchell said he would be happy to support a 1.79 per cent rise.
“All around the country, parishes are proposing huge precepts,” he pointed out. “They are doing this year what Keighley Town Council did last year, and doing so for the same reason – they have to increase their resources and they are afraid of what their primary authority is going to do.”
Coun Geraldine Stack said: “I think the precept rise should be set at zero. We got enough last year – 1.79 per cent is not a lot, but it’s still an increase, and we should be trying to make cutbacks.”
However, councillors Peter Corkindale and Tony Wright both spoke in favour of the proposal.
Coun Corkindale said the recommended increase would allow for a sustainable budget. He added that because of inflation, the small rise would effectively amount to a “standstill” budget.