Royston residents face council tax increase

RESIDENTS face a council tax increase after a town council unveiled its budget for the coming year.

Royston Town Council’s proposed budget for 2013 sees the precept collected by the council rise to �258,603.

This is a 4.8 per cent increase on the 2012 precept of �244,310, and means residents living in a Band D property will be paying four pence per week extra for the services provided and supported by the town council.

The budget was approved by members of Royston Town Council’s finance committee at their meeting on Monday, and must now be approved by the full council when it meets later this month.

Cllr Bob Smith, chairman of the finance committee, said: “Expenditure is up because of the public toilets at The Cross and other slight increases, while income is down due to the loss of outside agency support.

“We are a lean council anyway and try to cut things where we can.”

The town council took over the running and maintenance of the toilets earlier this year after North Herts District Council threatened to close them down.

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Cllr Peter Burt said: “I’m disappointed there has to be any rise, it’s most unfortunate. But to put it simply, four pence per week is not a massive amount of money.”

And Cllr Rob Inwood added: “This budget is a very satisfactory one for the people of Royston. I’m sure they wouldn’t expect any increase but it’s not a great increase.”

Spending on Royston and District Museum has been frozen at 2012 levels, while the town council expects hall hire income at the town hall to increase significantly once the Royston Picture Palace Community Cinema opens next year. However, this will also see them incur extra cleaning and caretaking costs.

The budget does not include provision for the new cemetery proposed for the town, but Cllr John Davison said any expenditure on the cemetery in the coming year would be treated as a one-off and come from “capital reserves.”