Coleraine to bear brunt of rates hike

Cloonavin
Cloonavin

Ratepayers in Coleraine will see a steep hike in their bills in the coming year, after a 1.5 percent rates increase was agreed last week.

The increase - agreed by members of the new Causeway and Glens Council - translates to an increase of over 11 percent for Coleraine ratepayers, however the good news is that this equates to an increase of just 2.4 percent, after the rates convergence discount is applied

This means that on a house worth £200,000 home owners in the Coleraine borough will see an extra £26.63 added to their bills.

In other areas - Moyle and Limavady, home owners will welcome a reduction in their annual bills.

Last Thursday night’s historic meeting, to strike the first rate of the new district council was described at one point as ‘farcical’ as members failed to agree on any figures.

After over an hour of debate, Chief Executive David Jackson asked the members to break into their party groups and discuss their positions.

Sinn Fein’s Phillip McGuigan had proposed the 1.5 percent recommendation, but there were further proposals from the DUP’s George Duddy, who put forward a zero percent increase, Independent councillor Padraig McShane who proposed a 3.5 percent increase, and PUP councillor Russell Watton who opted for a one percent rise.

There was some confusion between the Ulster Unionist members as councillor David Harding said his party ‘believed’ the rate should be struck at minus nine percent, but he didn’t propose this.

Then as the debate continued, his colleague Coleraine councillor William McCandless put the minus nine figure on record as a proposal.

Chief Executive David Jackson warned that the figure would remove around £4.5 million from council, and that the proposal was ‘not sustainable’.

With five different proposals on the table, Mr Jackson asked the parties to break into their party groups and discuss.

After the recess three proposals remained, a new proposal was tabled by councillor David Harding.

He proposed that no ratepayer should face a rise and put forward a nine percent decrease.

This was seconded by councillor Willie McCandless.

DUP councillor George Duddy put forward an amendment for a zero percent rise, however the original proposal by Sinn Fein’s Phillip McGuigan for a 1.5 percent increase was carried by 15 votes to ten.

So what does a 1.5 percent rise mean to ratepayers across the four Council areas?

The 1.5 percent increase agreed by members last Thursday night means that ratepayers in Coleraine face the largest increase of the four council areas, whilst in Moyle and Limavady ratepayers are in fact seeing a reduction on their annual bills.

The 1.5 percent increase means in Coleraine, ratepayers will in fact face a 2.40 percent increase, this means that on a house worth £200,00, rate payers will see £26.63 added to their bills after rates conversion.

In Ballymoney £21.60 will be added to ratepayers bills, whilst in Moyle bills will be reduced by £55.60 and in Limavady ratepayers will be pleased to see a reduction of £100.