At a special meeting on February 12, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council agreed its District Rates, which come into effect on April 1 2018.
Commenting on this year’s rates, a council spokesperson said: “The setting of the 2018/19 rates has been very challenging with Land and Property Services (LPS) confirming in September 2017 that a substantial rates refund of almost £1M was payable by the council.
“This arose from a successful appeal of a rates valuation with LPS. This was totally outside the control of the council and had a significant impact on this year’s and future years’ budgets. In addition, next year’s budget has also had to account for the 2 per cent public sector pay inflation.”
The spokesperson added: “After a four year rates freeze for ratepayers in the Newtownabbey area there will be a 3 per cent increase in domestic rates. Following three consecutive years of rates decreases for ratepayers in the Antrim area, there will be a 2.48 per cent increase in domestic rates.
“This year, commercial ratepayers across both Antrim and Newtownabbey areas will see a 2.48 per cent increase, following three consecutive years of rates decreases.
“However, despite the challenges faced in setting this year’s rates, prudent financial planning will ensure that the council’s levels of service delivery are unaffected.”
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Paul Hamill commented: “This has been a very challenging time for council. The significant rates rebate and the associated reduction in future rates income led to further examination of planned expenditure.
“With thorough financial planning and further efficiencies, the rates for 2018/19 have been set.
“Since the elections in 2014 the council has delivered an extensive capital development programme during this period and is committed to future capital development programmes.”
Cllr Hamill added: “This will see the continuation of a public realm scheme in Antrim, refurbishment works in our leisure centres, some play areas, public carparks and the commencement of the exciting V36 Skateboard Park.
“We are also planning recycling improvements for residents, which will see our council area retain its reputation as a top recycling performer.
“Given the recent significant job losses in the borough, we have also set aside some funds which will allow us to invest in strategic projects which will be directly linked to job creation in the borough through collaborative opportunities such as City Deal and the Heathrow Hub.”
The Regional Rate, the portion of all Rates bills, which is determined by the Northern Ireland Assembly and is the same across all council areas, has yet to be set.