At a meeting on Monday evening, Ilkley Town Council agreed its budget for the council year 2023/24 which will see an increase of 15.3% in the precept payment annually for a Band D property.
Ilkley Town Council receives most of its income through the precept, an annual sum of money collected with Council Tax by Bradford Metropolitan District Council, paid by approximately 7,232 households in the town. The rest of the Council’s income derives from charges for services such as public toilets, bank interest, grants, and the Community Infrastructure Levy.
At the meeting, the precept was agreed as £392,902, resulting in an annual precept payment for a Band D household of £54.33 in the year ahead. This represents an annual rise of £7.22 (15.3%) per Band D household from the previous figure of £47.11. Since election of the current Town Council in 2019, the annual amounts for the precept have been: £46.60 (2019), £44.99 (2020) and £47.11 (2021 and 2022). For 2022-23, according to official government data, the average Band D precept in England was £74.81.
Since 2019, including the period of Covid restrictions, the Town Council has completely refurbished the toilets in the Riverside Gardens, continued to run the town centre toilets, maintained staffing at the Visitor Information Centre, renovated the World War I cenotaph and Mill Ghyll and set aside money for imminent road safety improvements across the town. It continues to manage Darwin Gardens, to provide funding for town centre flowerbeds, community events and the Jubilee and Christmas lights. It has worked alongside the Ilkley BID on Discover Ilkley. It has made numerous community awards supporting meaningful change towards carbon reduction and environmental improvement, assisted our community, cultural and sporting groups, and promoted understanding of diversity and inclusion.
Ilkley Town Mayor Councillor Mark Stidworthy said: “Ilkley Town Council takes its responsibility for precept-payers’ money very seriously. Budget-setting was a detailed line-by-line consideration of expenditure, income and reserves by all Councillors. It is not possible to satisfy everybody, but I believe this is a well-considered budget ensuring the financial future for the Council and enabling it to continue to be a positive force in the town for the residents that elect it.”
In taking its decision, the Town Council said was mindful of its responsibility to provide value for money for residents whilst securing the financial position of the new Town Council (due to be elected in May 2023) in a difficult and uncertain economic climate. It also wished to protect existing and projected projects and leave opportunity for the newly elected Council to undertake meaningful consultation with residents to determine its priorities.
District Councillor Andrew Loy (Con, Ilkley), who also sits on Ilkley Town Council said: “While I am glad that pressure from Conservative councillors has resulted in a lower precept rise than the 43pc in the original draft budget, I am disappointed that the Green and Lib Dem majority on the Town Council has voted to raise the precept by 15pc, well above the rate of inflation and three times higher than the expected rise in council tax.
“There are many items of expenditure which are hard to justify, most obviously the £87,500 to be handed to Bradford Council for the 20mph and traffic calming scheme, but also many smaller items. These include £6,000 for a glossy full-colour newsletter and £5,000 for a survey to find out residents’ priorities, which many may regard as too little too late. Along with the other Conservatives present, I felt I could not support this budget.”
A copy of the budget is available on the Town Council website.