Penistone’s share of council tax is going up by 1.5pc in April, to £153,850, councillors decided at their annual budget meeting.
They also heard that the Paramount Cinema can pay for a new screen and other improvements from bumper earnings this year, without asking the council for further help. But £27,500 has been earmarked in case more spending is needed there. And £15,500 goes for repairs planned for the Community Centre.
In other decisions, which will be ratified at the next council meeting, members decided to rationalise charges for hiring the Community Centre. This could mean increases for some groups, though others may pay less.
Finance Officer Amanda Hart said the council’s auditor had asked for the structure to be simplified. Currently there were a number of rates, with different discounts for various users.
“It’s an absolute nightmare,” she said. “As the auditor quite rightly said, you swirl your hand round, stick a pin in and that’s what you charge.”
The council accepted new rates but were concerned that some groups could not afford them. They agreed that discounts could still be offered to specific organisations, but said these should be standardised. Groups could also apply for grants to help them pay. And to ease the transition, council officials can use their discretion in agreeing rates for the first year.
Meanwhile a surplus from a bumper autumn at the Paramount meant £15,000 repairs there could be paid for from current earnings. Ms Hart said “The Paramount’s having a very good year this year. We had a fantastic time up to December.” She said the healthy excess should be reinvested now rather than having to budget for repairs in future years.
The new screen will replace the current 10-year-old one, which is showing blemishes. These are in part caused by the need to remove the screen for live performances and are more apparent with higher definition projection now in use. Plans also include electrical improvements, repairs to the stage floor and other floors and a scanner to work with on-line tickets printed at home.
The total council tax figure will be decided by Barnsley Council once it has finalised its spending on February 26. It is expected to show an increase of around 1.9pc. The total will also include contributions towards the cost of policing, passenger transport, fire and civil defence.