Barnstaple Town Council has agreed to increase its council tax by five per cent for the year ahead. A full council meeting on Monday saw councillors agree the budget for the forthcoming year, setting its precept the amount raised in council tax to £672,751. The increase means Band D properties will pay £98.81 to the town council, an increase of £4.24 on the previous year - equating to an extra 8.2p per week. The council cited a number of reasons for the increase including the cost of town council elections in 2019, as well as an increase to roadside maintenance and funding for heritage-related activities and events. Mayor of Barnstaple, Councillor Julie Hunt, said: The town council has taken on a lot of additional responsibilities in the last few years, and this is continuing at a time when financial support that we have relied on from other councils is reducing dramatically. I think the public can see the benefit of our work just look at the improvements to our roadside areas as one example and people are more willing to pay a little extra if they can see what were doing with the money. The council has also pledged to increase funding for community organisations, and has cited a reduction in support from county and district councils and a rise in inflation as additional factors for the increase. Stuart Upcott, chairman of Barnstaple Town Councils finance and general purposes committee, said: Weve tried very hard to keep the increase in council tax to a minimum by reducing the amounts we spend on the back office. The prices we pay are increasing though, and our services are expanding. A survey carried out before Christmas suggested that residents do think we should be doing more, and that theyre prepared to pay a bit extra for that. The figure that councillors have agreed is their view of the right balance of all of these things.