Carmarthen's £10,000 towards county Eisteddfod sparks row
TAXPAYERS in Carmarthen must pay £10,000 this year towards the 2014 National Eisteddfod...in Llanelli.
Carmarthen Town Council agreed to hand festival organisers cash out of its 2013-14 budget — at the same time as raising its precept for the coming financial year.
And residents could be asked to pay again, with a further donation next year not being ruled out.
The precept has risen for the first time in five years, from £620,000 to £643,902, meaning a council tax rate for a band D property of £126.21 for 2012-13, or a rise of £2.07 per household.
Three town councillors have raised concerns over the Eisteddfod donation.
Councillor Richard Edwards asked: "I accept the county town should be pulling its weight and if this donation is the going rate then fine.
"But Llanelli is hosting the main event and the economic benefit will be to Llanelli.
"I believe Llanelli Rural Council is not making a donation until next year. If they don't make the same gesture as us then how can we justify it?
"And we could be looking at another £10,000 next year, making a £20,000 donation.
"I think some clarification is needed."
His concerns were echoed by councillors Doug Rose and Ken Lloyd following a meeting on Wednesday.
At the meeting, Mayor Phil Grice said: "If there is a field to be led (with donations to the Eisteddfod) then we should be leading it.
"If councillors are unhappy then we can try and discover another figure."
Mr Grice said he had researched figures paid by other towns to Eisteddfodau in past years.
He said Barry Town Council had given £30,000 and Denbigh Town Council had handed over £20,000 to their county events.
Councillor Doug Rose asked whether those donations were given in the year of the Eisteddfod or prior, to which Mr Grice answered that he did not know.
At the vote on the precept, including the donation, 12 councillors voted in favour, with three voting against — Richard Edwards, Doug Rose and Ken Lloyd, while Mo Izzidien abstained.
Carmarthen is meanwhile bidding to host the potentially lucrative proclamation ceremony this summer to announce the Eisteddfod, with a decision expected soon by festival organisers.