ABERYSTWYTH Town Council may have to delve into its reserves to keep public toilets open.
The town council is mulling over the cost implications of taking over three public toilets in Aberystwyth after receiving a request from Ceredigion County Council.
The Cambrian News understands the county council has written to town councillors asking them to consider taking over the running of the toilets along Park Avenue, on the Castle Grounds and at the Public Shelter as the public authority looks to cut costs.
It is believed the county council has also requested the town council also take responsibility for grass cutting and street cleaning in the Aberystwyth region, such is the dire state facing the public authority, which is proposing an eye-watering 13.9 per cent hike to council tax bills from April.
The matter was due to be discussed by town councillors at a finance meeting on Monday evening, but councillors decided to hold talks behind closed doors, kicking the Cambrian News reporter out of the meeting.
The Cambrian News understands the town council is awaiting financial detail for the public toilets before making a decision, but it has been warned that the town council would have to dip into its reserves to keep the public conveniences open from April as they have not been budgeted for.
Last week the town council requested cost or revenue details from Ceredigion County Council, but no response had been received on Monday evening.
Cambrian News Editor Mick O’Reilly described the actions of Aberystwyth Town Council as “underhanded”.
“Clearly, the actions of Aberystwyth Town Council in removing this publication’s reporter from a discussion that concerns how tax money is to be spent, is undemocratic and speaks to a willingness to carry on the public’s business behind closed doors,” O’Reilly said.
“We will be following up on this with the relevant office of the Welsh Government.
“Is there something to hide?” he asked. “There may not be, but the actions of the town council suggest that there is. And if there’s not, then clearly the town council fails to understand its duties and obligations to the people of the town who elected them. This isn’t about press freedom, it’s about taxes and the people who pay them.”