Rates money will improve facilities

Speaking after the Policy and Resources Committee, Council Chairman, Councillor Olive Mercer said the extra money would be used to improve facilities in the Banbridge District Council area.

“This is an important year for Banbridge District Council,” she said. “By applying reserves carefully built up in better economic times we have released funding for a limited programme of development work in the final year of the Council’s existence. This is our last chance to improve our facilities prior to reorganisation and integration into a ‘super council’ with our neighbours Armagh and Craigavon. On the advice of officers it was considered inadvisable to allocate further reserves to recurrent expenditure which would have the effect of deferring a bigger increase in the District Rate in future years.

“We are aware that it may be more difficult in the future to initiate work programmes to our own leisure centres, play parks and outdoor facilities in the larger super council.

“With the proposed 2% increase releasing a 3.5% increase in net expenditure we look forward to ensuring that our services are on a par or set the standard for the new Council,” she concluded.