KNUTSFORD Town Council’s annual precept has dropped for the next financial year – but residents will pay more.

In the current tax year 2013/14, the council was given a £75,000 grant from Manchester Airport as part of the payouts for the Runway Two compensation package.

As a result the town council asked for £153,000 from the town’s residents – which meant a band D property paying around £28.

For the upcoming period of 2014/15, the authority has set its annual precept at £225,307 – resulting in a band D council tax rate of £40.07.

The precept was agreed in January by the full council following the budget process being overseen by the finance committee.

Clr Mike Houghton, chair of the finance committee, said: “Residents who will have recently received their overall council tax bill from Cheshire East may be surprised to see an apparent 40 per cent plus increase in the contribution they need to make to Knutsford Town Council.

“However, this is very misleading. In the current financial year, we had a one off grant from Manchester Airport of £75,000 which supplemented the precept, which would have been £228,000 rather than the £153,000 we set.

“Since that was a one off, a direct comparison of the precepts, between this year and next, suggests an increase, but we’ve actually decreased the precept requirement for the new financial year.

“Through increased efficiencies and utilising our reserves, we have been able to reduce the precept required to £225,307 a reduction of 1.18 per cent and the effect is a 1.69 per cent reduction in the band D rate.”

Cllr Houghton added. “And this is against a backdrop of bringing more and more events to the town to help the local economy.

“We are delighted to be able to offer, although small, a decrease in the precept to the people of Knutsford”.