POLICE chiefs in North Yorkshire are insisting the slice of cash they receive from council taxpayers will have to rise by three per cent if they are to meet a planned £140 million spending target.

Members of the North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) will approve the police budget for 2010/11 next month, and want the public’s views on the police element of their tax bills.

The force plans to fork out £140 million in the next financial year but £60.8 million of this will depend on how much it receives from its council tax precept.

The remaining £78.5 million has been promised to North Yorkshire Police by the Government in the form of an annual grant.

To raise the £60.8 million, a three per cent increase in council tax precept is needed which means owners of Band D properties would have to pay £205.15 a year towards policing – an increase of £5.98.

Each one per cent drop in the final precept figure would mean the force having to find about an extra £600,000 from elsewhere towards its expenditure plans.

Jane Kenyon, chairman of the NYPA, said if the rise in council tax levels were kept to a minimum it would mean a long-term financial burden for police in the region.

She said: “The police authority is very conscious that the current national financial position is putting many local people in very difficult personal circumstances and we would wish to minimise any further increases in council tax if we can possibly help it.

“Over the coming years, all public services will face tightening budgets and it is important that the police play its part in keeping the council tax increase to an absolute minimum. “We are continually seeking to improve our services for residents and visitors alike but we do face a dilemma this year; either to maximise the income, through rises in council tax in the next financial year to ‘buffer’ us against grant reductions in later years, or to keep the council tax levels down as much as possible next year, thereby possibly making our longer-term financial situation worse.

“We will be making key decisions on February 5 and would like to hear the views of as many people as possible before then."

More information on the current financial situation as well as the opportunity to provide feedback to NYPA is available online at nypa.gov.uk/budget1011