ST Ives Town Council could raise its precept by about 30 per cent for 2013/14.

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Councillors will discuss tonight (Wednesday) which schemes they want to press ahead with in the next financial year, after suggesting projects costing a further £200,000 on top of the council’s annual budget of £614,718

The additional spend would include £30,000 for new play equipment, more than £11,000 in grants, a £10,000 refurbishment of the bus station toilets, £20,000 to install solar panels for the town hall and Corn Exchange and £8,000 towards a £45,000 scheme for security fencing around Hill Rise Allotments.

St Ives mayor Councillor Debbie Townsend told The Hunts Post that a 30 per cent rise was the worst case scenario and that nothing was definite.

“We are a new council and have been asked to look at what the new administration wants to achieve,” she said. “At the moment it is a wish list. We have taken the opportunity to air suggestions of what members feel St Ives needs.

“In terms of a percentage it seems a lot, but in monetary terms it isn’t too much, a 10 per cent rise would result in an extra £10.50 a year – about 87p a month – but these are difficult financial times for everybody and that is something that will be taken into consideration.

“We will be looking at which schemes we will be able to carry out over the next four years rather than in just one year.”

However, community groups have warned that to fund projects, councillors may be forced to cut or reduce grants to organisations.

District councillor Ryan Fuller, chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, has applied for a continuation of its £8,000 grant.

He said: “Community groups have been asked to justify the aid they receive and about the possibility of match funding, which suggests that councillors are looking at cutting our services.

“If the funding to these types of group is cut, it will not be for the good of St Ives.”

Cllr Townsend added: “We have a number of new councillors who may not be aware of all of what the town’s groups do so to make an informed decision we have asked for more information.”

A report on the budget meeting will be in next week’s Hunts Post.

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