Council agrees new rate but donít expect a bill soon

Thursday, 16 February 2017

ARMAGH City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has agreed an inflationary district rate increase of 1.76 percent for 2017-18.

In real terms its an extra 64p per month for the average domestic rate payer.

For non-domestic rate payers we looked at an average sized business in Scotch Street, Armagh and found that they can expect to be paying approximately £44 extra per year. (business rates vary for a number of factors therefore it is harder to approximate the rise for all local businesses).

It should also be noted that the regional rate hasn't been struck yet due to the instability at Stormont.

However the council has delivered on its obligation to strike a rate ahead of the February 15 deadline.

"The Council has an ambition and vision to grow the economy, stimulate investment, sustain and create new jobs and provide improved services for every resident and the modest rise agreed reflects its commitment to continue to deliver in these priority areas," said a spokesperson.

The decision to increase the rate came following a detailed analysis of the key priorities outlined for the incoming year, the annual budget required, along with external cost pressures facing the Council.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Garath Keating said: "The decision to increase the average domestic district rate by a modest 64p per month reflects the Council's commitment to manage its finances well while balancing the needs, priorities and expectations of all residents which include the delivery of high quality and efficient value-for-money services, investment in our communities and infrastructure that will underpin growth and prosperity for the future.

“Through careful, strategic planning, budgeting and cost-saving, the Council plans an Investment Programme of more than £28 million across a range of projects in 2017-18 to support these objectives and we look forward to reporting on progress in all areas in the weeks and months ahead."

ABC council takes in around £57 million in rates which accounts for around 70% of its income. A large part of the rest of council income comes from central government grants

Rates money is used to fund and improve key local services such as leisure and recreational facilities, refuse collection, building control, tourism and events, community services as well as investment in key capital projects to develop facilities and infrastructure which, the council hopes, will enhance the quality of life for every resident.

Examples of key capital and signature projects include the development of the Portadown Pump House, Environment Improvement Schemes at Castle Lane, Keady and Richhill, Dromore Pump Track, leisure centre improvements in Banbridge and Armagh Town Heritage scheme, as well as major public realm improvements in Portadown and Lurgan.

In addition, the Council is already investing in an ambitious regeneration programme to revitalise town centres and villages across the borough.

Funding for community groups to deliver a range of activities across the borough is also at its highest level.

Councillors agreed a domestic rate of 0.4108 and a non-domestic rate of 24.8541.

Non-domestic ratepayers will also see modest changes to their bills for the year ahead following an agreed rise of 1.76 percent.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Greenfield added: "The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon area is fast realising its potential, investing for the future and promoting its strengths locally, nationally and globally.

"Now rightfully recognised as the official Food Heartland for Northern Ireland, our award-winning borough is well positioned for a future of opportunity and prosperity and as an enviable, attractive and ideally-located place in which to live, to visit, to do business and invest in."



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