‘£45m loan debt can be serviced more than adequately’

Latest council news.
Latest council news.

Newtownabbey Borough Council has said that its “healthy rate base” and “prudent and effective financial management” means it is well capable of servicing its £45million loan debt.

According to the Local Government Auditor’s Report 2014, the council’s loan position as of March 31, 2013 stood at £44.6million.

While that figure was down £2.2million from the previous year, it was still the second highest among Northern Ireland’s 26 councils.

North Down Borough Council (£49.4million) topped the local authority borrowings league table.

Stressing that its investment programme shows that it is “committed to boosting the local economy and improving facilities for the borough and local residents”, a Newtownabbey Council spokesperson said: “Borrowings relate to the extensive portfolio of impressive facilities the council has to offer and the borrowings are serviced more than adequately by the healthy rate base.

“To this end, and with the support of the external funding successfully secured, a number of capital investment programmes have been completed or are currently underway. These include: £900,000 invested in the community centre refurbishment programme in Monkstown, Ballyduff and Rathfern; £700,000 invested in revitalisation in Ballyclare and Glengormley town centres; £1.5m invested in the completion of ‘Newtownabbey Way’ which links the Loughshore through Whiteabbey to Monkstown.”

She also pointed to the £3.6million Valley Park redevelopment project, which is due to start in the next few weeks.

Funding for the project is being provided by the European Union, with a council contribution of £400,000.

“Because of its prudent and effective financial management, the council is able to service its debt and still retain one of the lowest domestic rates in Northern Ireland,” the spokesperson added.