Town and parish councils are not exempt from the tough financial times we are all going through.

Even at the basic grass roots, local councillors face taking hard decisions or increasing the precept to cover projects.

The one good general aspect is that decisions are taken at this level on need without any political point scoring involved.

Take Pool-in-Wharfedale, for example. They have taken the decision to raise the precept by more than 12 per cent for the coming year — which may well have some people tutting.

But it is a perfectly sensible action. The lion’s share of the money will go towards the first repayment of a loan to cover the cost of road safety works.

It was a shame but the council’s bid for a grant for most of the work was unsuccessful.

A series of traffic incidents last year led to the renewed road safety campaigns.

It has to be borne in mind that even with the increase it comes to 75p a week for most households. Not a bad price to pay to help keep loved ones safe.

In Otley, the town council is discussing the costs of running its allotments. One idea is to introduce water charges to help head off a financial crisis.

Other ideas which are equally creditable included releasing its land to an association so they can manage the day-to-day running of the plots.

Coun Colin Campbell raises the valid question about does the council want to subsidise allotment holders?

The rents are not covering costs on a long- term basis. Surely the allotment holders wouldn’t object to an increase?

In the great scale of things, these may seem to some minor matters but they are quality-of-life issues which have to be dealt with.