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Half of York's salt bins may not be filled
ALMOST half of York's salt bins could be left empty this winter after council chiefs said they no longer have the money to fill them.
A review of City of York Council 's winter maintenance policy has led to parish councils across the city being asked if they can foot the bill for filling 170 bins in their communities – used to treat icy surfaces – following changes to the ward committee funding system.
The city council plans to fill only the 199 bins paid for through its highways budget, but has said it will leave the other bins in place.
However, a report on the issue has warned parish councils feel meeting the costs of stocking and maintaining them would be “double taxation” and a “drain on already tight finances”.
The Liberal Democrat group has described the plans as “a mess” and “a recipe for disaster” if treacherous pavements cannot be treated.
But the ruling Labour group said contingency funding would be available for filling bins which it will not automatically fund.
Coun Ann Reid , the Lib Dems environmental services spokeswoman, said: “All bins will be left out over the winter, but nearly half will not have any salt in them.
“Most residents will only know which bins are empty when they open them on a freezing January morning. Vulnerable residents will be left without a vital grit supply and a crucial tool for getting around safely in icy conditions will be lost.”
Coun Reid said she and two other Lib Dem councillors were calling in the proposals for more scrutiny and asking for a rethink, claiming Labour had gone back on a promise to keep all salt bins refilled.
However, Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said the council had made a commitment to provide salt supplies where they were needed.
“Bins will remain in position in order that they can be filled from the council's contingency budget if required, so salt will be available to residents should the weather warrant it,” he said.
“A full review of salt bins across the city will be undertaken after this winter, with full public consultation, which will inform a more transparent and logical distribution of bins for those areas which most need them."