Mid and East Antrim district rate rises by 1.98 per cent

Cllr Cheryl Johnston.
Cllr Cheryl Johnston.

Mid and East Antrim Borough ratepayers will see an in line with inflation rise of 1.98 per cent this year.

Council pointed to “sweeping efficiency savings” after striking the district rate at a special meeting last night.

Cllr Robert Logan.

Cllr Robert Logan.

The local authority said the rate agreed - approximately one per cent less than last’s year’s level of increase - is aimed at easing the impact on citizens whilst safeguarding major investment plans. These include new pavilions in Kells and Sandy Bay, Larne, Blackhead Path improvements and projects across 18 villages.

Council noted too the figure was achieved despite the loss of substantial rates income from the recent announcement of the closure of production facilities at Ballylumford.

The 1.98% increase represents an rise of 17 pence per week for the average household in Mid and East Antrim (72 pence per week when an assumed regional rate increase of 6.0% is included) and an average increase of £2.18 per week for businesses (£9.56 per week for businesses when the assumed regional rate rise of 6.0% is included).

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Cheryl Johnston, said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s approach is always to strike a fair balance between keeping rates as low as possible with securing existing and attracting new jobs, boosting inward investment and promoting tourism and other key priorities across the borough.

“This is in addition to money council has also already secured for the next 10 years, at no additional unplanned cost to the ratepayer, and this includes work on St Patrick’s Barracks development, The Gobbins phase two, Carrickfergus town centre regeneration, and rollout of broadband services in Carrickfergus and Ballymena.

“At last week’s meeting of full council, we were also told of more than £1m from the Rates Support Grant, which will also be used for investment locally.”

The district rate increase represents a domestic rate of 0.4296 pence in the pound and a non-domestic rate of 30.046 pence for 2019/20.

Council’s portion of the rates amounts to 45% with the remainder set by the Northern Ireland Office in the absence of a Stormont Executive.

Councillor Robert Logan, who proposed the adoption of the rate, said: “The challenging economic climate and its impact on citizens and businesses has been at the heart of council’s decision-making on deciding this year’s rates level.

“Our Council is committed to doing everything we can to support local businesses to grow, and to encourage investment in the borough. In order to deliver a balanced rates process, we have also reviewed our Business Improvement and Efficiency Strategy to ensure that we minimise any impact on the ratepayer going forward in order to keep the rate as low as possible.”