COUNCILLORS have agreed to pick up the bill for repairing a 135-ft mill chimney that poses a danger to nearby properties.
A survey before Christmas showed masonry at the top of the chimney of Corporation Mill, Sowerby Bridge, could fall at any time.
But the owner cannot be traced.
Putting up scaffolding and removing the crown are expected to cost more than 25,000. Dismantling the whole thing would be closer to 90,000.
Calderdale Council Cabinet has agreed to pay for whatever work is necessary, pending a further detailed inspection of the chimney, which is listed.
According to economy and environment director Ian Gray, the council sets aside about 25,000 every year to deal with dangerous structures.
Tackling the Corporation Street mill will wipe out the budget and any further money will have to come from reserves.
The council has served health and safety notices on nearby property owners, warning them of the dangers and has fenced off part of the Rochdale Canal towpath. These also allow the council to enter any land surrounding the chimney for the purposes of making it safe.
The search is continuing to try to trace the owner, believed to be a man called Adrian Hulme.
The council told the owner of The Works pub, in Hollins Mill Lane, that it might have to close because of the danger from the chimney.
But following advice from independent experts, owner Sara-Jo Cooper said the council had over-reacted and as a result it was staying open as usual.