COUNCIL tax rises could hit Hay-on-Wye residents as Powys county council look to meet a £20m shortfall in its budget.

The council is currently discussing council tax levels – with a one percent increase generating £580, 000 – as well as planning a hike in parking prices.

Next week six public meetings will outline a new plan to tackle budget pressures – but a statement released by the council warns of tough times ahead for Powys.

“Some services traditionally provided by the council will not be provided in future,” said council leader David Jones.

“In some cases similar provision may be provided by local communities or other organisations but some services will disappear altogether.”

A “flexible strategy” – using technology to make the council more efficient – will look to ease pressure and save some services, but service cuts and price rises will be central to Coun Jones’ plan.

Faced with austerity measures and an increasing demand on council resources, Coun Jones is tasked with slicing £40m off the budget over three years.

He said: “Improved income generation is a vital part of our budget response.

“This will take two forms; increasing charges for services that already attract a fee, and additionally we could introduce charges where none previously existed.”

As well as parking, leisure centre prices are in line for a rise, and the council is looking at charging for advice for pre-planning applications.

And the cuts will begin at home, with the council set for a “very significant reduction” in its number of staff.

Those job losses will come, in part, as a result of funding going to health and not local government, said Coun Jones.

The public meetings will run from 4.30pm to 7.30pm, with the two closest sessions to Hay-on-Wye taking place on Wednesday 15 at Brecon’s Elim Church and the following day at the Hotel Commodore in Llandrindod Wells.