HAVERFORDWEST Town Council will be asking for an extra £5 from each household in the town for next year’s budget.

At its meeting on Wednesday, December 19 the town council discussed options for the budget for the 2019-20 financial year.

Town councillors gave their approval to a draft budget plan which will see the precept claimed from Pembrokeshire County Council rise to £282,000 over the next year.

This is an increase on the 2018-19 precept, which was £258,692, and will equate to £62.18 per household claimed from their council tax payments over the course of the year.

Under the plans, the council will also need to use £34,470 from its reserves to make up for a shortfall in the budget.

While discussing plans for next year’s budget, councillors negotiated which parts needed to be cut and which should be kept, with some describing balancing the books as “horse trading”.

Plans for a budget of £8,900 for publicity and promotion for the town council were quashed in the discussion.

Cllr Stella Hooper disagreed with this decision.

“People don’t understand what the town council do. We are not good at promoting what we do. That budget would improve interest in the town council and improve the turnout to elections held,” she said.

Cllr Jim Dunckley asked if £6,000 kept in the council’s reserves for the Welsh language could be used to develop a fully-translated Welsh language website, which it was a statutory duty to provide.

Cllr Dunckley was asked to return to council in February with an agenda item to discuss translating the website.

Cllr Roy Thomas said he disagreed with the decision to increase the precept for the next financial year.

“Your increase last year was far too much in my opinion,” he said.

The following spending plans were laid out by the council’s two committees, then changed during discussion at full council:

- Town Centre Improvements: £13,600

- The River: £10,000

- Events: £18,000

- Upper and lower Prendergast cemeteries: £28,000

- St Martin’s cemetery: £5,000

- Priory Saltings: £2,000

- Destination market: £5,000

- Picton Centre improvements: £2,500

- Grants and donations: £40,000

These costs total to £125,350, which along with the core costs of £216,220 and a £10,000 sum the council has to put into reserves each year for election costs totals to a budget of £350,320.

Core costs include paying wages to staff, running costs for the council’s offices at Picton House and the Picton Centre, insurance and Christmas lights.

Updated: An earlier version of this story  had a headline which said the precept Haverfordwest Town Council was asking for was increasing by £62, rather than increasing to £62 per household.

The precept is going up by £5.15 per household, rising from £57.03 per household last year to £62.18 this year.