Contrasting council tax rises in Ripon and Thirsk linked to district councils' grant decisions

The Advertiser Series: TAX RISE: Thirsk residents are required to pay 12.3 per cent extra to the town council this year. TAX RISE: Thirsk residents are required to pay 12.3 per cent extra to the town council this year.

RESIDENTS in Thirsk will pay 12.3 per cent extra to their town council this year, while their neighbours in Ripon will only be asked to pay an extra three per cent for services run by the city authority, it has been decided.

The average Band D council taxpayer in Thirsk will pay an extra £7.99 to the town authority for 2014-15 after Hambleton District Council decided to withhold Government funding to enable it to freeze its precept while maintaining its services.

A town council meeting heard its £118,000 tax demand would have only represented a 2.6 per cent rise had the district council passed on the £10,000 Government Revenue Support Grant.

With rising costs for utilities and £17,800 to operate its Millgate public toilets, which it took on from the district council in 2012, maintaining services would have cost taxpayers more had the town council not introduced savings and generated some of its own income.

Councillor Derek Adamson congratulated town clerk Howard Kemp for negotiating a £9,000 reduction on its insurance bill over the next three years, while advertising and donations at the toilets are expected to raise a further £2,300.

The meeting was told members had whittled spending down to a minimum, with Councillor Cynthia Hesmondhalgh saying damaged flower boxes at the entrance to the town on Long Street would be patched up to save money.

Other councillors expressed relief that traders in the town had agreed to contribute towards a “significant pigeon droppings problem” in the Market Square.

Ten miles away in Ripon, councillors decided Band D property residents should only be required to pay an extra 98p to the city council after Harrogate Borough Council decided to pass on the Government grant to its parish councils.

A city council meeting heard it would allocate £20,000 from its reserves, which would be matched by the borough council, towards the cost of a £125,000 skatepark off Dallamires Lane.

It also allocated funding for events to mark the Tour de France passing through the city and the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

A city council spokeswoman said its precept increase would enable the authority to continue to support local organisations and charities which received £28,000 in 2013-14.

She said: “In the present climate it is unlikely that the same level of support will be sustainable.”

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