Ballymoney Council agrees 3.05% rates increase

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Ballymoney Borough Council last night agreed an increase of 3.05% for the County Antrim borough’s domestic and non-domestic rates in 2012/13.

Combined with a regional rate increase of 2.2%, this means that ratepayers will see an increase of about 2.6%.

This is equivalent to an extra 53 pence per week for a household with a property value of £150,000. The average non-domestic ratepayer will pay an extra £5.81 per week (based on a Net Annual Value (NAV) of £20,000).

A council statement read: “Investment in the borough will continue in 2012/13 and a major community facility is planned in Dervock, to add to those provided this year in Stranocum, Balnamore and Ballybogey.

“Council continues to support events like the North West 200, Milk Cup and Armoy Race of Legends which attract numerous visitors to the borough and this year will welcome the Olympic Flame to Dervock.

“Like other businesses, Council will face a range of pressures in the coming year, but has managed to agree a budget that is below the rate of inflation. Rising fuel and energy costs, combined with the cost of waste management and reductions in income are among significant financial pressures on council budgets. Landfill tax paid to HMRC will cost almost £590,000 next year, an increase of over £60,000 or 1% on the rates.”

Mayor of Ballymoney, Councillor Ian Stevenson, said: “We are in difficult economic times and have had to make difficult decisions to get the rate down. I hope the electorate appreciate our efforts.

“I am pleased that we are able to progress provision of community facilities at Dervock, essential improvements to the town’s Riverside Park facilities, stage events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Dervock and ceremonies and public events to confer the freedom of the Borough on the Royal Irish Regiment and the Territorial Army.”

Chief Executive of Ballymoney Borough Council, John Dempsey commented: “Council has worked hard to improve efficiency to help contain the rise in net expenditure. Absenteeism is significantly down this year and this has reduced the cost of providing cover for frontline posts.

“All employee vacancies are scrutinised by a council committee to consider if they need to be filled and, despite new responsibilities being imposed by central government, no additions have been made to the permanent staff complement.

“In 2011/12, the domestic rate in Ballymoney was in the middle of the range of the 26 councils, being in thirteenth place where one is the highest. This increase is well below inflation (the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation for December 2011 was 4.2%) and should see us retain that position. Domestic Rates in Ballymoney are the lowest of the six councils in County Antrim outside of Greater Belfast. For the second smallest council area in Northern Ireland, that is a remarkable achievement.”