Newry rates to increase by 1.29%
There will be an increase of nearly 1.3% in rates in the Newry & Mourne area for 2013/2014, despite local Councillors insisting that their aim was to achieve a zero per cent increase for the forthcoming year.
After six drafts councillors finally agreed on the 1.3% figure, stating that this was the lowest figure they could achieve without affecting essential services that the council provides to members of the local community.
Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Ruane said the rates increase will also be used for a number of big projects which are on the horizon.
Ruane stated, “The council are involved in a number of major projects such as the new sports centre and the Kilbroney park mountain bike trails.
“The new sports centre will be the biggest project that NMDC has ever undertaken and is a project that all councillors have committed too.”
SDLP Councillor Councillor McGreevy said that in the current economic climate the agreement of a rate increase of 1.29 per cent was the best deal that could be hammered out.
“By close of play after the first meeting with officials we had been able to downscale the projected rise to five per cent after the majority of Councillors had agreed to remove £500,000 for RPA.
“Eventually, after much frustration and anger the rate was struck at 1.29 per cent. If the regional rate is eventually decided at 2.7 per cent it will work out at 42 pence per week for every household with a capital rate of £100,000.”
McGreevy pointed out that the Council was facing the reality of having to fund a significant capital programme as part of a wide ranging programme to help bring development to the area.
“We have to face facts. The finance has to be found to cover the cost of a £9 million swimming pool, the completion of an events space in Kilbroney Park and the design of a regeneration scheme in Warrenpoint is part of a priority agenda.
“In addition, the provision of a much needed car park in Newry’s Corry Square to help businesses with staff and customer parking in Monaghan Street will have to be paid for. Those objectives have to be placed in context against the key variances the Council was forced to deal with.
Speaking about the failure of the SDLP to achieve a zero per cent increase, McGreevy said they were able to protect front line services and achieve a rate increase below inflation.
“We have already started the conversation with the Senior Management team in order to explore ways of achieving our zero increase targets in the coming year,” McGreevy added.
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