Rothbury Parish Council’s precept for 2017/18 will be £72,789, slightly below this year’s of more than £74,000.
Given the experience this year of several, large bills for unexpected items, the budget was upped to include £25,000 of contingency funding for this type of issues.
Coun John Rutherford said: “We have had walls, we have had gravestones this year. We could do with something for one-off, big things.”
Coun Jeff Reynalds added: “Some of the things that we are looking at in the committees could have cost implications too.”
Proposing this budget increase and the precept, Coun Rutherford added: “On that basis, the precept would reduce a bit, but we would have some contingency which seems sensible.”
• A patch of land which is hoped can be used for a First World War memorial project does belong to the county council, despite previously denying it.
A Land Registry search confirmed that a patch of waste land behind the telephone exchange does belong to the county council, although the authority previously said it did not own it.
The parish council wants to take it on and use it as part of the Centenary Fields project, to essentially create a small memorial garden for those fell in the Great War. If successful, a seat has already been sourced for the space.
• Members agreed to pay £200 to carry out an X-ray on the chestnut tree near to Orchard House, which could be dead or diseased, before making a decision on having it removed. Coun Brian Hesler said: “It’s a nice tree so it seems a shame to take it out if it’s okay.”
• Post replacement by the Congregational Hall will cost £80, while it will be in the region of £220 by the rectory, but a decision needs to be made on two options. The dog bin at Addycombe Gardens has been repaired and a bin to attach to the lamppost by the bridge is to be bought.
• Nearby residents have been told about the repairs to be carried out to the churchyard wall. No faculty (the church’s equivalent of listed building consent) is needed, which means ‘it’s cheaper and quicker’, and the parish council is authorised to start the work.
• Members have agreed to pay for the red phone box in the centre of the village to be turned into a noticeboard, as it will cost just £55. At the December meeting, Coun Jeff Reynalds described the box as a heritage asset for the village and part of the furniture.
• Public consultations will be held in Rothbury and Thropton next month on the vision and objectives for the neighbourhood plan. The events will both take place on Saturday, March 11; in the morning in Thropton and the afternoon in Rothbury.