Mid and East Antrim householders facing annual rate increase of £72
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In real terms, this will mean an average weekly increased charge of £1.39 (or £72.03 per year) for homes valued at £110,361. The non-domestic district rate will rise by 11.86%, meaning an average change of £18 per week per small retail unit or £51 per week for a hospitality premises.
Council’s portion of rates amounts to just under 50% of the rates bills received by householders with the remainder set by the Stormont Executive.
Councillors agreed the district rate at a special meeting last night (Monday) against what the council said was the backdrop of unprecedented financial challenges faced by many local authorities.
Locally, council noted, these include an unexpected and sudden rates income shortfall for the next year of approximately £1.7m, and additional projected running costs of almost £12.2m over the next year due to a wide range of financial pressures, including soaring energy bills, rising staff costs, waste management fees and vehicle provision and maintenance.
Last week, council said, it was informed rateable income from the borough’s largest ratepayer – Kilroot Energy Park – will be temporarily reduced by approximately £1.7m, which equates to an estimated impact on Mid and East Antrim’s forecasted rate projections for next year of 2.7%.
EPUKI is currently developing the site as part of the wider Kilroot Energy Park masterplan, and rates receivable from Kilroot will be reduced significantly during this period. However, the new Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) and the Multi-Fuel Combined Heat and Power Facility planned for the site would provide significant rates for the borough soon.
A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “It is with deep regret that the rates increase for the year ahead is higher than any of us would want but council, like so many other public sector bodies, is facing unprecedented financial pressures.
“£6.8m of savings have been identified throughout this incoming financial year, but soaring costs to deliver services and maintain our facilities mean we are in an unenviable position this year of still having to implement this increase to meet the needs of our citizens.
“We are acutely aware of the struggles many people and our businesses are facing within our community and remain focused on doing everything within our power to help and support them, while safeguarding the essential services they rely on.”
Forthcoming major projects in the borough include but are not limited to the £80m investment throughout Mid and East Antrim from Belfast Region City Deal; £7m investment at Carnfunnock Country Park in conjunction with the UK Levelling-Up Fund; £8m investment at Ecos in Ballymena; purchase of new energy-efficient waste and fleet vehicles for council; continued delivery of play park improvements, including at the flagship Marine Gardens facility in Carrickfergus; and rollout of synthetic sports pitches.
The district rate funds a wide range of public services, including waste, leisure, business support, community support, parks and regeneration.