HELPING to keep public toilets open in Aldwick will push up council tax bills in the area.
Aldwick Parish Council has decided to pay £7,300 in the coming year towards the cost of the three sets of facilities.
The decision comes some 18 months after a public dispute between the council and Arun District Council about the expense of the loos at West Park, West Meads and Avisford Park recreation ground.
The cash for the toilets will see the council take £75,023 from its householders in the year from April.
That is a rise of some seven per cent from the £70,000 in the coming year.
But council chairman Cllr Dr Tony Poland defended the increase at Monday’s meeting where it was unanimously agreed.
He said: “It is a lot more than we have been asking for but we have been able to hold our precept at £70,000 for the previous three years.
“We reduced it from £80,000 the year before that.”
The increase will add £1.97 a year to the £12.60 which the council currently collects from a Band D household in its precept, or levy
“This is one of the smallest precepts in all the 31 parishes in the Arun district,” he said.
The council’s budget for next year was agreed at £115,815. Most of the difference between that and its income from the precept will be met by taking £35,000 from reserves.
Cllr Dr Poland said: “This is a very good budget. We will be drawing on some of our reserves to spend on projects coming out of our five-year business plan.”
Cllr Tony Hockenhull, who chairs the parish council’s amenities committee, said the agreement for the toilets had been signed and returned to the district council.
“It meets all of our concerns,” he said.
He thanked Arun District Council leader, Cllr Gillian Brown, for her help in getting talks started and during them to overcome some sticking points.
Cllr Mrs Brown, who represents Aldwick East, said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to resolve this. I look forward to working with you more closely.
“Working in partnership is going to be more important as the years go on because government finance is clearly going to go down.”
After the meeting, Cllr Dr Poland said: “We have to work with other councils. We are trying to build up relationships with them.
“We can’t go it alone and Arun can’t go it alone.”