RESIDENTS in Barnard Castle will have to pay more to fund their town council – even though the authority's precept has been reduced.

Changes to the way council tax is calculated mean that while Barnard Castle Town Council has set a precept of £147,791 - £851 less than last year – residents face a 14.5 per cent increase in the amount the pay for the group.

For Band D properties that works out at £87.29 a year, on top of which is added the Durham County Council precept and costs for the police and fire service.

In total, Barnard Castle Town Council's budget for 2013-14 is £174,021, and increase of £11,104 on the current financial year.

Of this, about £75,000 is spent on staffing costs, with another £14,500 going in pension contributions.

Councillors agreed to set aside a total of £14,000 to stage a series of community events during the coming 12 months.

They also agreed to cut the Christmas festival budget by £1,000 to £8,000. As a result, a Christmas festival leaflet will not be produced this year.