THE year ahead could be 'critical' for Oswestry Town Council.

That is the view of town clerk David Preston as councillors look to agree the budget for 2019/20.

In a report to Monday's Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting at the Guildhall, Mr Preston outlines several key risk areas.

These include the decline in retails and high streets, pressure on parish and town councils to cover services no longer provided by principal authorities, extending the town cemetery, ageing property and maintenance needs.

Among the decisions councillors will make will be whether to increase the authority's slice of council tax funds .

"The town council is reminded that it continues to operate some services as a loss leader and some are indeed historic," he said.

"New income streams and still required, particularly as the council has become more diverse in its functions and service delivery and

In his report, Mr Preston recommends either a three or five per cent increase on the current Band D rate of £74.24 - taking the amount to £76.54 or £78.06.

The clerk added that capital expenditure during the next financial year is expected to be £912,000 and an estimated income of £504,401.

Mr Preston said that the income and expenditure were "considerable for a parish or town council".

"What is clear is that capital expectations are increasing but at the same time risks to revenue budgets are considerable, particularly in terms of the performance of the High Street that affects the town council considerably in respect of its property, rentals and car park income.

"The next 12 months could prove to be critical for the council in looking to its budgets to the newly-elected council in May 2021.2

But Mr Preston added that the estimates show how active Oswestry Town Council is in the daily provision of essential services such as parks, open spaces and cemeteries - as well as town centre activities.