No Rates rise

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CONSCIOUS of the current economic pressure on local residents and businesses, Moyle District Council has agreed to hold its rate for the second year running.

At its meeting on January 31, Council agreed the adoption of the projected estimated net expenditure of £5,717,626, which after applying a balance from reserves of £383,953 represents a ZERO increase in the District Rate.

But a decision to raise the regional rate after a three year freeze could lead to an increase.

Moyle Council has no control over the regional element of household rates bills.

Moyle Council says it will continue to ensure delivery of high-quality and cost-effective services whilst implementing its Corporate Plan.

Councils reserves at 31 March 2010 were £1.4 million and it is projected that Council will retain this level at 31 March 2011.

The Estimated Penny Product increased from £150,070 in 2010/11 to £154,610 in 2011/12. This increase can be attributable to the recent work which has been carried out in conjunction with Land and Property Services in identifying occupied property which was previously listed as vacant, and pro-active debt collection arrangements. Moyle Council will continue to progress a comprehensive scheme of both Capital and Revenue works throughout the District in the 2011/12 financial year.

The Council says the majority of these schemes will further enhance the Tourist and Recreational Facilities and Infrastructure in the area.

In terms of Capital works, many schemes were approved as part of the 2010/11 Estimates process. Council will continue to progress these schemes and maximise grant potential in any future schemes.

Major schemes which were approved in as part of the estimates process last year have now commenced. These include the following:

* The Tourist Board grant funded schemes at Ballintoy Harbour, Ballycastle Seafront, Harbour/Terminal, Rathlin Harbour and Coolranny. It is anticipated these schemes will be completed for Summer 2011.

* Council have agreed to match fund three Village Renewal Schemes under the Rural Development Programme, these are as follows: Lisnagunagh Play Area; Hamill Terrace, Bushmills and Glenariffe Scheme. Council have set aside almost £60,000 to match fund future applications to this fund in 2011/12.

* Dundarave Soccer Pitch Changing Rooms, Bushmills.

* Tourism and Environmental Improvements in Glens Area, namely Cushendall Beach Enhancements; Coast Road Field Amenity Area and Garron Road Lay-by Viewing Point. These schemes were successful in grant funding through the Rural Development Programme and are due to commence shortly, subject to statutory approvals.

* Sheskburn Recreation Centre has now been upgraded which includes refurbished changing rooms.

* Tennis Courts have now been resurfaced.

* Traffic Calming and Environmental Improvements on Council owned Carparks have commenced.

* Christmas Lights project has now been completed.

* Construction on the Marina Building has now commenced with an estimated completion date of Autumn 2011.

* DDA Works to improve access for the disabled to Moyle Council’s services and facilities has now been completed

* The Turnarobert Playground in Armoy is now operational.

* Enhancements to Carnately Amenity Site have now been carried out

Meanwhile, Council has initiated the following projects, and will continue to progress them during the 2011/12 year:

* Redevelopment of Bushmills Library to provide a Tourist Information Centre and ancillary office space (£400,000)

* A sum of £140,000 set aside to match fund various Capital projects during 2011/12.

* James McShane Pitch, Quay Road – Synthetic Carpet to Goal Mouths.

* Match funding for Ballycastle Town Partnership projects (BTP) on Council property eg upgrade to Tow River path. (£10,000).

* The Rates Estimates for 2011/12 consist of no Additional Loan Charges. Council have agreed to finance the existing schemes from Capital Reserves, along with match funding through various grants.

Regarding Revenue Schemes, Moyle Council continues to work in partnership with various voluntary, public and private grant funding bodies to ensure maximum benefit to the rate-payers of Moyle.

For the 2011/12 Council have committed to the additional following items of revenue expenditure:

* £24,000 to implement the Tourism Strategy.

* Additional £10,400 to the Festival Fund.

* Additional £1,800 to Greenlight Gateway for the provision of planting to new planters at the Harbour.

The Council also have agreed to replace the former Community Infrastructure Fund of £40,000 with a new fund, details and criteria to be confirmed shortly.

Council continue to progress the following Strategies, Initiatives and Projects:

* Recycling education and awareness scheme.

* Delivery of the Tourism Strategy.

* Contribution towards the Citizens Advice Bureau.

* Good Relations and Equality Strategy.

* Community Services.

* Promote Leisure facilities in partnership with ‘Pulse’.

* Economic Development Programme.

* Warmer Homes Schemes and Home Accident Prevention.

A Council spokesperson said: “Net expenditure of £5,717,626 - an increase of £142,569 from 10/11. The general grant generates £635,073, a decrease of £54,960 from 2010/11.

“A balance applied of £383,953 means the net amount to be raised by the rates is almost £4.7m, which is equivalent to a district rate of 0.3749 pence in the pound – a 0% increase and a district non-domestic rate of 30.3867 - a 0% increase.”

Further information and details available on, after Tuesday February 15.