Alliance Councillor Naomi Long said: “Whilst we all wish that the increase could have been lower, the 6.97% increase in the district rate, which will translate to 2.99% increase for householders when combined with the regional rate, is a significant improvement against the estimated 10% increase which was the starting point for the Council in this process.
“Every year, Councillors and Officers work extremely hard to keep the rate increase as low as possible without cuts to services and, given the uniquely difficult financial climate facing ratepayers and Councils at the moment, that process has been more important than ever this year.
“The Council’s efficiency savings of over £1million pounds per year in each of the last three years shows that ongoing commitment to improving value for money; however, the Council is not insulated from the effects of the economic downturn. Alternative income streams for the Council have decreased significantly, in areas such as building control fees, with the construction slowdown. This affects the amount of money available to provide services.
“The agreement reached on rates includes a commitment that all parties will work towards a three year financial planning cycle for the Council. All parties have also agreed to examine every areas of expenditure to identify further savings and efficiencies to provide ratepayers with more confidence in and certainty about their rates from year to year.”