Residents face council tax increase

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PONTELAND residents will pay a little extra Council Tax from April.

And there are two very different reasons why the town council raised the precept by 3.6 per cent to £348,347 for 2012/13.

There will be a number of events and activities to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, with suggestions so far including a fireworks show, a Memorial Hall display reflecting life in Ponteland during the last 60 years and producing commemorative mugs.

The authority is also taking over the responsibility of managing the public toilets in Merton Way from Northumberland County Council, at a cost of around £6,000 a year.

Councillors unanimously agreed the budget, which also included some cuts and increases in the different spending areas. Based on this year’s figures, the precept going up will mean a £2.21 Council Tax rise for Band D householders.

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said: “We’ve had a number of discussions about the budget which have led to us approving it at this meeting.

“We decided to take on the toilets at Merton Way and this accounted for a two percent increase and the money set aside for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations adds another 2.3 per cent, so if it wasn’t for these two things our precept would have been 0.7 per cent lower.

“Hopefully, residents will understand why we have gone with a slight increase.”