Council agrees to freeze district rate

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Local councillors have agreed that there should be no increase in the district rate for 2014/15.

At a special meeting in Mossley Mill on Thursday evening (February 13), members unanimously agreed a proposal from DUP Councillor Victor Robinson for a zero per cent rates rise.

Describing the move as “historic”, Cllr Robinson said that this is the first time that Newtownabbey Council has agreed to freeze the district rate.

“We will always strive to keep the rates as low as possible, whilst maintaining first class frontline services for our ratepayers,” he commented.

Alliance Councillor Billy Webb said the move to hold rates at the same level for next year “reflects the excellent work done by our staff in pruning back expenditure.”

The district rate is the proportion of overall rates bills set by the council. The regional rate, set by the NI Assembly, accounts for over half the total bill received by householders and businesses.

With the regional rate due to increase by 2.7 per cent, rates bills in the borough are expected to rise by just under 1.5 per cent from April.

This was the last time that Newtownabbey Council will strike a rate. The local authority is to merge with Antrim Borough Council after May’s local government election.