OSWESTRY rate payers are set to face a three per cent increase in their town council precept.

But mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Sandy Best, told the Finance and General Purposes Committee while councillors had agreed three per cent – which takes the rate to £76.54 – those who suggested five per cent "had a point" and that they would need to have a "really good discussion" about an increase next year.

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 ,ore responsibility is being targeted towards the local level from both government and the unitary tier.

"The key threat is that many discretionary services will undoubtedly stop being delivered by principal councils and the onus and pressure with then be directed at town and parish councils to meet that gap in service."

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

He said that this is often the main source of a parish or town council's income.

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."

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.

Cllr Mike Coppock added that reserves had "been going down quite significantly" and that the council had to look for extra income.

He added that the five per cent increase would amount by three to four pence a week.

Cllr Chris Schofield disagreed, adding that he wanted to keep the increase "as low as possible".

"I hear the same argument every year but at the end of the day it all adds up," he said.

A total of three councillors opted for five per cent, while 10 backed the proposal for three.

The three per cent increase was then passed as the substantive motion.