AMMANFORD Town Council have agreed a 39 per cent increase in the town’s precept for the next financial year.

Councillors met last week to discuss the coming year’s budget and agreed to increase the precept by 39.50 per cent, 55p per week total, for residents.

The figure includes a 40 per cent increase for Band D properties.

The council tax levy for the year for band D properties is £100.43, compared with £71.64 for the current year.

The precept will help cover a £282,000 difference between expected expenditure and income for the year, whilst still leaving a £91,000 deficit which will be removed from the Council’s reserves.

Speaking ahead of the decision, Councillor Colin Evans said: “The concern I have with the budget is that we are taking a huge amount of money out of reserves in order to try and keep the precept down to a reasonable level.

“A 39.5 per cent increase seems a lot, but it is 55p per week. I think we have got the balance right with this budget.

“We have arrived at a figure which is sensible, but are we comfortable with the net reserve that we will have left in the event any emergencies arrive?”

A £40,000 increase in the money put aside for the asset transfer of Ammanford Park was also considered necessary by the Council.

Cllr Evans said: “We have a huge responsibility in terms of what we are planning to take over as a Town Council. We consulted the public as to whether or not they wished us to retain the green areas and they overwhelmingly said yes.”

The budget also puts aside £50,000 for events, which some councillors questioned, asking whether residents would be getting value for money from that.

Following the discussions, the budget for the 2018/19 year was passed with six councillors voting in favour and two voting against.

Opening the meeting, mayor Deian Harries spoke not only of the importance of agreeing the precept, but also the challenges the Town Council were facing moving forward.

He said: “We have dedicated volunteers here who want the best for Ammanford but have not had clear direction in the past.

“I firmly believe that we can turn Ammanford Town Council around and get ourselves out of the mess we have found ourselves in recently.

“Asset transfer is a huge responsibility. The people wanted their parks to be run by their council. We want to bring Ammanford Park back to its former glory.

“As part of that lease agreement we will ensure the bandstand is restored by the local authority.

“As a council we also promise to be more accessible to the public, with better use of social media and a working website.”