Bill from town council to rise by 4%

The old courthouse on Pocklington's George Street, where the meeting was held.
The old courthouse on Pocklington's George Street, where the meeting was held.

Tax payers in Pocklington face an increase in their bill from the town council after much deliberation between councillors.

At a recent meeting, Pocklington Town Council decided to increase its precept for the financial year April 2016 -March 2017, which will see an average band D household in Pocklington paying £74.50, instead of the £71.67 they paid for the year 2015-16. This is an increase of £2.83 or 4%.

The town council has chosen to up its precept after spending a significant amount of money over the past two years on improving facilities in the town, using funds from its reserves. It has dipped into its reserves to build a new workshop at the allotments on The Mile, which cost about £40,000. In addition, it is taking £70,000 from its reserves to help fund the refurbishment of Pocklington Arts Centre’s first floor and remodel its foyer and box office, which will cost around £545,000 in total. Through various grants it has authorised the building of the skatepark on West Green, which cost £63,000. It has also landscaped the area and benches have been installed, with fitness equipment to be provided in the near future.

Pocklington’s mayor, Coun Martin Ratcliffe, said: “To help maintain this level of development within the town it was decided after much discussion to raise the precept by 4%. This will enable us to start a project fund with an initial budget of £9,000.

“We have benefitted from new developments in the town to bring in further funding from which £5,000 has been allocated to finance a Neighbourhood Development Plan. Funding from new developments is only available to us when houses have been occupied.

“It is the intention of the town council to maintain the development of facilities for all in future years.”
The council says it will have about £60,000 in its reserves at the end of this financial year, down from £134,528 at the end of the last financial year. The debate about the precept during a meeting at the old courthouse, on George Street, saw councillors deliberate for a while about whether or not to increase the precept.

Councillor Alan Spademan said he would “feel comfortable” raising the precept by 3%. He added: “It will give us that initial boost to our reserves.”

Coun Martin Cooper proposed a 4% increase “to help to start building the reserves up.” Eight councillors then voted in favour of a 4% increase and four against.

l What do you think of the increase? Send your views to news@pocklingtontoday.co.uk