TAX bills are increasing for Northwich residents although councillors say the bottom line will be less.

Northwich Town Council is putting up its almost £500,000 part of the Council Tax bill but argues it will result in an overall reduction.

Members said they will charge less for some responsibilities, like Christmas lights, Danefields play area and some allotments, which the town council has taken over from Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC).

CWAC was charging a special expenses fee for responsibilities like this.

Town mayor Clr Bob Robinson, also the council's finance committee chairman, said: “Northwich will be paying less this year than last year because there will be no levy on Christmas lights or Danefields play area.

“Residents had to pay an extra one-off each year and that outweighs the amout we propose to put up the precept.”

Clr Brian Jamieson said: “We've absorbed the costs of the Christmas lights, the play area and some allotments and that's required us to increase the Council Tax by £1.47 a year for a Band D property.

“Special expenses will be reduced by £5.40 so rate payers in Northwich will be £4 to £5 better off in this year's Council Tax than they would have been if we hadn't done what we have done.

“We are doing it at less cost because we're probably more efficient than CWAC.”

Northwich Town Council agreed to charge a precept of £485,009, which covers £10,000 it gives out in grants, a number of town centre events, looking after parks and cemetaries and helping to get the Northwich Neighbourhood Plan off the ground.

But Clr Derek Bowden did not agree with the rise.

“I've looked at the budget and I fully understand the reasons for an increase in the precept,” he said.

“I also understand that residents will, overall, be paying less money than in previous years.

“But in view of the problems so many households are facing in the light of cuts in various aspects of their income, I wonder if it's possible financially for the council to consider absorbing that money into its accounts and not raising the precept this year?”

Fellow members argued that the rise was justified and the council voted to approve the precept.