Clarification over rates rise figures

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LOCAL householders can expect an increase in their rates bills of around 36 pence per week, it has been confirmed. That’s almost double the figure Newtownabbey Borough Council quoted last week.

On Tuesday (February 14), the local authority released supposedly finalised figures stating that the rise would be 2.83 per cent for domestic ratepayers - equating to around 19 pence per week for the average household in the borough. But is seems that figure didn’t take into account the increase in the regional rate - the portion of overall rates bills set by Stormont.

Clarifying the matter this week, the council has confirmed that the increase from April “will be approximately 36p per week for the average household, including both regional and district rates.”

Mayor Billy Webb said that while the regional rate rise will add an additional 17p per week to the average household bill, he’s still satisfied with the figure struck by councillors and officers at Mossley Mill.

“I am still happy with this as we only have control the domestic element and all of the political parties worked together to keep this to as small an increase as possible. The annual average increase for Newtownabbey households will be £18.72,” he commented.

Alderman Paul Girvan, the DUP leader on the council, welcomed the efforts of council members and officers in keeping this year’s increase below the rate of inflation.

“I personally would like to thank the officers of the council who have worked diligently with us to secure efficiency savings which have resulted in this rate being achieved. Originally it was indicated that an increase of approximately eight per cent would be needed for this incoming year, but through consultation, scrutiny and imagination this was reduced to 2.83 per cent without reducing or curtailing service delivery.

“As a group we believe it is important to sustain and develop services and to assist Newtownabbey Borough Council to enhance even further its profile and standing both locally and across the province,” he said.