SINN Féin councillors on Ballymoney borough council have criticised the DUP for what they claim was “blatant electioneering” when striking the rates for the incoming year.
Cllr Philip Mc Guigan said in a statement: ‘It is quite clear from the decisions taken at the rates meeting that the DUP continue to see Ballymoney council area as a council for Unonists only
‘Of the six capital projects planned for this year, at a cost of over 2 million, and which will continue to burden the ratepayers of this borough for 30 years, none are in any of the Nationalist villages in the area.’
‘On top of that there is now a budget of £8000 to clean up bonfires, 90% of which take place on the 12th of july, £7500 to bestow the freedom of the borough on the RIR, £15500 to the Milk cup along with other unnecessary projects and wastage of ratepayers money
‘It is the view of myself and my colleagues cllr. Cavlan and cllr. Mc Laughlin in Sinn Féin that to push through their agenda the DUP have made drastic cuts in essential services, which will have a negative impact on the people of the borough
‘When you factor in the decision the decision of the DUP minister Edwin Poots to stall the review of public administration which would have brought savings of £300million to local government, and the decision of DUP minister Sammy Wilson to take back over £60000 promised to Ballymoney council, it is clear that from top to bottom the negative impact the DUP are having on local ratepayers.
Councillor James Simpson has also commented on the rates increase.
Councillor Simpson felt the increase was reasonable given the depressed state of the economy.
He said: “The increase represents a fair compromise between the need to keep a tight grip on expendiature and the need for capital investment especially on existing facilities. In this context Megaw Park is in need of refurbishment and it is planned to take to take out a loan to finance this work. “Tourism is important for the whole North Coast area and Council support for major events is important in the expectation that there will be a spinoff for Ballymoney itself
“The creation of new jobs is most important for the Ballymoney area and hopefully the economic development budget will be of assistance.”