Alliance Councillors on Causeway Coast and Glens Council have called for an investigation into Council finances following confirmation of a shortfall in budgets.
Causeway Councillor Chris McCaw said: “Councillors were shocked, when late last year we were told by Council officers that we faced a budgetary crisis. This followed three years of zero increases in the rates, which obviously was not affordable, but was forced through by the unionist parties.
“We are now in a situation where ratepayers may see a substantial increase in their rates unless we can come together to agree a way forward. I believe the Northern Ireland Audit Office needs to have a close look at the financial processes that are in place and determine how some budgets have been allowed to go into deficit. Some difficult questions need to be asked of Council officers.”
Coleraine Alderman, Yvonne Boyle, said: “If we need to increase the rates, we also need to look at how we can cut back on unnecessary expenditure. We can all make savings in a number of ways, such as through having Council papers sent by email rather than printed out and posted. Car sharing wherever possible should be encouraged to reduce travel costs. We should also look at the costs of hospitality and ensure it is not extravagant.
“We are in a serious financial situation and the ratepayers will not forgive us if we do not act responsibly to resolve this issue.”