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Your rates bill has two parts – the regional rate and the district rate. The regional rate is struck by Central Government and Strabane District Council sets the district rate.
The regional rate is set by Central Government and provides funding for education, housing, health and roads. Central Government has confirmed that the regional rate will increase by 2.7% in 2014/2015.
Your rates bill has two parts - the regional rate and the district rate. The regional rate is struck by Central Government and provides funding for education, housing, health and roads. Your local Council sets the district rate and this provides funding for arts, events and recreation, building control, leisure/community centres, environmental health, tourism and waste management.
Members of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council came together today to agree the new annual district rate which, with the regional rate, will result in an increase of 1.29% for ratepayers in the former Derry City Council area. The new rate will represent a 5.23% increase for those living in the former Strabane District Council area. This increase is mainly the result of central government impacts and would have affected Strabane ratepayers even in the absence of the amalgamation of the two current Council organisations. In spite of this, the average ratepayer in the new Council area will continue to pay lower rates bills than average ratepayers in the majority of other Council areas.
The majority of business ratepayers in the new Council district will also benefit from a reduction in their rates bill, following a revaluation of non-domestic properties.
The new rate represents an increase of £10.28 for the average Derry residential ratepayer and £37.46 for the average Strabane residential ratepayer. The vast majority of these increases have come as a result of central government impacts and the costs of convergence.
Over 74% (or £27.74) of the average increase for Strabane residential ratepayers, and 67.4% (or £6.93) of the average increase for Derry residential ratepayers, is a result of the impacts of Central Government. Costs of convergence after relief have resulted in an average increase of £6.52 in Strabane. The new Council has also agreed to invest in a number of growth initiatives resulting in the remainder of the average increase, £3.20 for ratepayers in the former Strabane District Council area and £3.35 for ratepayers in the former Derry City Council area being invested in improving services and facilities for citizens.
The new rate has been struck in a challenging budgetary environment and during a period of major cuts in central government funding, major local government reform and statutory and legislative increases that come as part of the Local Government Reform process. The costs related to local government reform are made up of Ombudsman fees, auditor fees, and other costs related to the reform process.
Additional pressures beyond the control of the new Council have made the process more difficult, a significant reduction in the rates support grant and a considerably revised baseline following the non domestic revaluation process has resulted in a lower convergence differential than originally anticipated, and all of these have had a detrimental impact on the proposed increase for the financial year 2015/16.
Despite these pressures, the average ratepayer in the new Council area will continue to pay lower rates bills than average ratepayers in the majority of other Council areas. Furthermore, business ratepayers whose property value has increased by less than 6% following revaluation, will have a reduced district rates bill in year one. This will positively impact on 61% of properties in Strabane and 58% of properties in Derry.
At today's meeting the new Council reaffirmed its commitment to growing and improving services for its citizens with an ambitious programme for the new District and has struck a rate with a minimum increase to fund significant growth opportunities.
Presiding Councillor Maoliosa McHugh said "Despite numerous representations to Ministers in respect of proposed cuts, it is unfortunate that we are now in the position where these measures are going ahead. The new Council is focused on making provision for growth and our strategy, in spite of these wider austerity measures being introduced by Central Government, is on building for the future. At the centre of this strategy is economic, social and environmental regeneration, with specific emphasis this year on making additional provision to fund an ambitious capital investment programme across the entire new Council area. This will involve developing the city and regions festival and events and growing business support alongside opportunities to sustain, promote and create jobs.
The new Council is committed to delivering improved, more efficient and customer-focussed services across the whole of the new Council area for all ratepayers and to work in partnership with communities, businesses, statutory agencies and all government departments to improve the quality of life of its citizens, as well as promoting and encouraging investment and driving growth and prosperity.
The average ratepayer in the new Council area will continue to pay lower rates bills than average ratepayers in the majority of other Council areas and we have bolstered our commitment to supporting business and investment in the region by ensuring that the majority of our business ratepayers will see a reduced rates bill in year one.
Citizens of the new Council area will also benefit from a £7.8m investment in Rural Development administered by the Local Action Group; £2.2m investment in digital infrastructure and a rolling programme of upgrades to current facilities."
Derry City Council and Strabane District Council, in collaboration with other partner organisations, have invested heavily in growth initiatives in recent years for the benefit of their citizens. These initiatives included a £12.4m capital investment programme in Strabane developing the Strabane Pedestrian Bridge; the new waste transfer station and ongoing public realm schemes throughout the District. In Derry, there has been £53m of capital investment in a range of projects including the establishment of the state of the art leisure facility Foyle Arena (scheduled to be opened later this spring); the highly successful development of the Guildhall and Harbour House; the regeneration of the Culmore landfill site; the Heroes of the Great Siege Museum; the completion of Phase 3 of the City Cemetery; the highly anticipated £5m regeneration of Brooke Park as well as a further £20m investment in City of Culture, a three year investment in the Clipper Race and a full programme of Legacy initiatives - all levering substantial external funding from other sources.
The Councils estimated revenue expenditure (net of specific grant income and fees and charges from council services) in 2015/16 will be £52.712m.
The following chart demonstrates how this money will be spent:-
|Net revenue expenditure||£52.712m|
|Development, Culture & Leisure Services||£13.016m|
|Cross-cutting corporate service||£7.062m|
|City of Derry Airport||£3.445m|
For the financial year 2015/16, this net expenditure will be funded from the following sources of income:-
|District rates income (including de-rating grant)||£48.407m|
|Rates support grant||£3.081m|
|Transferring functions grant||£0.324m|
The following table is based on the average property value and details what the average ratepayer in the new Derry City and Strabane District Council will pay compared to the N. Ireland Council average:
|Domestic Ratepayer Examples Based on Average House Values|
|Average Property Value||District Rates Bill Before Relief||District Rate Relief||District Rate||Regional Rate||Total Rate Bill for 2015-2016||Total Increase from 2014-2015|
|Current 2014/15 NI Council average||118,005||394.94||394.94||470.37||865.31|
Information on District Rate Relief
The Department of Finance and Personnel www.dfpni.gov.uk/rating-review has set out details for a district rates convergence scheme for ratepayers joining the new council areas. The scheme will come into effect on 1 April 2015.
When will I receive my rates bill for 2015-2016?
All ratepayers will receive their 2015-2016 rates bill, which is made up of the district rate (45%) and regional rate (55%) set by central government, from the Land and Property Service in March 2015.