Rates to rise by 1.3 per cent

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NEWTOWNABBEY Borough Council has struck a rate rise of 1.3 per cent for both residents and businesses.

The rate for the coming financial year was set at a special meeting of the council on Tuesday evening (February 12).

The rates for non-domestic rate payers was set at 26.7355pence, a rise of 1.31 per cent while the domestic rate was set at 0.3423p, a rise of 1.3 per cent.

Residents should expect an increase in their rates of around two per cent when the regional rate is applied by Stormont.

Over the past year the council has completed a number of major projects including the refurbishment of the Ballyduff, Monkstown and Rathfern community centres.

The council also opened the popular Newtownabbey Way and made improvements to the Valley Leisure Centre and play parks in the borough as well as handing out grants to sports clubs.

In the coming financial year it is planning a series of major works including improvements to Ballyclare and Glengormley town centres; improvements at the Valley and Sixmile leisure centres; an environmental improvement scheme at Cloughfern Corner; upgrading of changing facilities at Threemilewater Park and improvements to the car park and sea defences at Gideon’s Green.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting the council said it was very aware of the financial pressures that residents and businesses currently face and said this was a key factor in agreeing the rate.

Mayor, Alderman Victor Robinson commenting on the work that has being going on to agree the rate said: “Once again, the council has been working hard to keep the rate rise well below the rate of inflation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank members and officers for their hard work on this.”

He added: “In this time of economic hardship it is very important we work hard to keep the rates as low as possible for Newtownabbey residents and we have worked hard and diligently to keep rates low.”

Jacqui Dixon, the council’s chief executive added: “The council has introduced a number of efficiency measures to reduce costs and we are realising the benefits of these.

“Members, officers and ratepayers have collectively achieved an increase in recycling rates within the borough, limiting the effect of a further increase in waste disposal costs.

“Against a difficult economic backdrop, the council has delivered a number of great capital schemes, with external funding support, such as the Newtownabbey Way. It will continue to work in partnership with the many agencies to explore opportunities to secure any external funding which may be available to support future schemes.”