Over 16,000 rate bills issued to ratepayers

Rate bills are being issued to homes and businesses throughout the Ballymoney Borough and Moyle District Council areas by Land & Property Services (LPS), the Government Agency responsible for collecting rates.

The bill shows the amount owed for the billing period 2011/12 as well as any debt carried forward from previous years.

A LPS spokesperson said: “There are 9,417 ratepayers in Ballymoney Borough Council area and 6,607 ratepayers in the Moyle District Council area and through the payment of their rates they have helped to fund the provision of a number of public services. In fact, since 2007/08 alone, almost £43 million has been collected in the Ballymoney area. This money has been invested in vital public services such as healthcare, education and roads as well as helping to fund a number of council services including recreational facilities, bin collection, tourism and local events.”

While aiming to protect and retain essential services the Council has also been able to make provision to spend £1million on new community schemes. Mayor, Councillor Bill Kennedy, said: “We are in hard economic times and have had to make difficult decisions to keep the rate increase down in the face of steeply rising costs. Thanks to the good work of members and officers we have agreed a rate below the level of inflation.”

LPS is encouraging ratepayers to read the information booklet they will have received with their bill, the spokesperson said: “We would encourage everyone to read this carefully as it contains information about how your bill is calculated, methods of payment, and how you can get help with paying their rates.

A 4% discount is available to all Northern Ireland domestic ratepayers if they pay their rate bill in full by 6 May. The LPS spokesperson continued: “If LPS receives payment in full, in a single payment by the discount day, which this year is 6 May, you will receive a 4% discount. You must allow a minimum of five working days for payment to reach us bearing in mind that there are a number of bank holidays around this time and these are not classified as working days.

“You can also pay by direct debit. This is the easiest method of payment and can help you to spread the cost of your rate bill. LPS offers ratepayers a choice of three collection dates; 7th of the month; 15th of the month; or 28th of the month.

“A number of other payment options are available including; standing order, telephone and internet banking, cheque, online and using a ‘Rates QuickPay Card’ which customers bring along to any Post Office or one of the 800 participating payzone outlets.”

There are also a range of reliefs and entitlements available to help ratepayers pay both domestic and business rate bills. The LPS spokesperson concluded: “If you are having trouble paying your rate bill we would encourage you to make contact with us to see if you are entitled to any of the rate reliefs available or to enter into a payment agreement with us.”

LPS has teamed up with nidirect to hold a one hour online session on Thursday 21 April to answer any questions you might have about your bill. This will be held on www.nidirect.gov.uk. You should send your questions to feedback@nidirect.gov.uk before Wednesday 20 April (1pm). An LPS official will post responses on nidirect on Thursday 21 April at 2.30pm.