Mid Ulster District Council increase rates by 5.9 per cent in ‘challenging financial climate’
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In what continues to be one of the most challenging financial climates in recent decades faced by local government, it will mean that an average domestic ratepayer will pay an additional 53p per week more for the Council portion of their rates bill.
Against a history of keeping district rate increases among the lowest in the region for many years, the continuing difficult financial climate, high levels of inflation, rising global costs of energy, and most significantly, a shortfall in central government funding received by the Council through the Rates Support Grant meant setting a realistic budget that minimised the impact on local people was extremely difficult.
A proposed mix of savings, efficiencies, and increased income generation has been identified to offset the additional costs and minimise the impact on ratepayers, while remaining focused on delivering the essential services residents expect, as well as reflecting what residents value the most.
The Council said in a statement: “While continuing to deliver on these essential services, the in-coming year will see the Council continuing to secure external funding such as PEACE Plus and Levelling Up for a range of capital investment and community projects, to help us invest further in our local area for the benefit of residents and business communities.
“The villages of Coalisland, Moy, Bellaghy, Clady, Castledawson, Moneymore and Castlecaulfield will benefit from £3.46M of investment thanks to the Small Settlements Regeneration Programme, and at the same time, Maghera is set to benefit from £9M Levelling Up funding for three interrelated projects to support economic growth and drive regeneration in the town.
“In addition, on-going investment in pitch, play and leisure facilities as part of the Council’s Pitches, Play, and Outdoor Recreation Strategies is also planned in the year ahead, including the significant development of pitches and running track at Mid Ulster Sports Arena.
“The Council is committed to providing up over £800K in community funding, to support community groups and strategic events across the Mid Ulster area, while continuing to provide key events across the year, such as the Continental Market, and at Halloween and Christmas.
“We will work in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, in co-operation with the Department for Communities to deliver a £4M investment programme to enhance Bellaghy and Bellaghy Bawn by creating a literary hub of international significance.
“We will work to develop investment to improve our active travel network through the development of a new Active Travel Masterplan for the district.
“With the aid of funding received through the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and supported by Sperrins Partnership, the Council will continue to spearhead a new Development Plan for the Sperrins. The new plan will seek to support our local communities to benefit more from the Sperrins AONB, while championing long term sustainability and conservation efforts in this unique and special natural resource.”