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Rate-payers to see rise of around £1 per month

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HOUSEHOLDERS will see an extra £12 on their rates bill over the next financial year however it is not all doom and gloom for Strabane.

 
Derry City and Strabane District Council struck a rate yesterday of 2.76 per-cent, a rise of around £1 per month per average household.
The rise was not supported across the board however, with four independent councillors voting against it.
 
As in previous years there were angry exchanges between members on the issue of City of Derry Airport and the fact that well over £2 million of ratepayers’ money will be used to prop it up for a further year.
 
Despite the objections though, 30 elected representatives voted in favour of the 2.76 per-cent rates increase.
 
Hike
 
As well as the £12 being added to rates bills at local level, householders can expect to see a further £7.12 rise because of a 1.8 per-cent hike in the regional rate being set by the NI Executive.
 
While local ratepayers will have to fork out an extra £20 in total over the next 12 months, Derry City and Strabane District Council has made a number of promises regarding Strabane and its regeneration.
 
These include…
• The delivery of a new 3G pitch at Melvin
• The appointment of design teams to advance proposals, business cases and costings for a new leisure centre in the town
• The completion of an initial design and costings for a new town centre footbridge
• Business cases and proposals for major physical regeneration schemes on a number of sites in Strabane town centre
 
A further key element of this year’s rates document is council’s ‘Strategic Growth Plan’.
Council chief executive John Kelpie told the Guildhall that with the full support of government, the growth plan is projected to lead to the creation of 10,000 new jobs across the council area over the next ten years.
Large scale events are also to get a cash boost, Mr Kelpie revealed.
 
He said, “Through an ongoing efficiency programme in which council has delivered and achieved to date over £2 million of savings to its annual revenue budget, it is proposed that in addition to this ambitious capital programme, council will this year also invest further in its events, festivals and cultural activities – diversifying and adding to the area’s impressive cultural offering and attractiveness to visitors and tourists which last year saw the highest ever annual hotel occupancy rate.”
 
Satisfaction
 
Outlining his satisfaction at the new rate, Cllr Maolísa McHugh said every effort has been made by council to ensure total inclusivity in providing services and investment right across the entire district.
 
“I reiterate too that it’s very easy for people to flag up negativity around issues such as the airport but I welcome the very fact that this council has committed to going the extra mile to ensure that we continue to have an airport.
 
“I see it as a critical part of our development and infrastructure which will increase our economic opportunities in the area.
 
“The airport adds over £15million to our economy and that is not just in Derry. The more progressive we are, the more likely we are to develop our economic base.”
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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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