TEN York parish councils plan to raise the amount they receive from taxpayers next year – with six of them looking for increases of five per cent or more.
The organisations have submitted proposals for their 2013/14 parish precepts – the portion they receive from council tax payments, which pays for their community schemes – with some of the planned increases being questioned by the city’s council leader.
No tax rises have been requested by 19 other parish councils, while two – Clifton Without and Skelton – are set to lower their precepts next year.
However, Askham Richard Parish Council has proposed a 22.9 per cent increase, which would see it receive an additional £410 in 2013/14, while Rufforth and Knapton Parish Council’s planned 11.9 per cent rise – following increases of eight per cent and 6.8 per cent in the previous two years – would bring in an extra £800.
Local authorities must stage a referendum if they want to increase their council tax bills by more than two per cent next year, but this is not required of parish councils, City of York Council is proposing a two per cent council tax increase, and its leader Coun James Alexander – who tweeted the parish council plans yesterday – said on Twitter: “Many parish councillors do valued work, but the vast majority are elected unopposed.
“It is concerning they can increase their parish precepts with little scrutiny.”
The city council has no power to intervene or vote against parish council proposals. Other proposed precept increases for 2013/14 include Deighton Parish Council (9.9 per cent), Copmanthorpe Parish Council (6.6 per cent), Haxby Town Council (5.3 per cent) and Holtby Parish Council (five per cent).
Askham Richard Parish Council was not available for comment yesterday, but a spokesman for the Rufforth and Knapton council said the reason for its proposals was that it had been required by the local authority to pay £5,000 towards the cost of a new cycle path in the area this year.
Once all parish council proposals for next year are taken into account, the average increase across the city would be one per cent – compared with 2.2 per cent last year – and the total amount all the bodies would receive would be £621,678, £6,069 more than in 2012/13.