Council approves rates rise of almost three per cent

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Local householders and business owners will see an increase in their rates bills from April after Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council set the district rate for domestic and non-domestic properties for 2018-2019.

At a special meeting of the council this week, elected representatives agreed a rate increase of 2.91 per cent for domestic properties and 2.93 per cent for non-domestic properties.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's Lagan Valley Island headquarters.  Pic by Benrie Brown

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's Lagan Valley Island headquarters. Pic by Benrie Brown

The Chairman of the local authority’s Corporate Services Committee, Councillor Scott Carson, said: “To put this into context, assuming an inflationary three per cent increase on the Regional Rate (the portion of bills set by central government), for an average household paying rates on a property valued at £125,000, this would represent an annual increase on their rates bill of £26.15 (2.96 per cent). This equates to £2.18 extra per month.”

He continued: “The council aims to continually deliver and improve on its high quality service provision to reflect the needs of the community and its ratepayers.

“Sustainable growth and development across the Lisburn & Castlereagh area continues. This includes the Dundonald International Ice Bowl redevelopment and the new Public Realm scheme and Forest Park Renewal in Hillsborough village.

“Work will be progressed to enhance a number of the council’s parks and open spaces, including Duncan’s Dam & Stockdam Glen, the Billy Neill Soccer Centre of Excellence and Hydebank Playing Fields. In line with a council-agreed programme of work, six play areas will undergo refurbishment in 2018-19.

“Waste Management initiatives for recycling continue in order to maximise recycling across the area through harmonising our kerbside services and through the council’s Household Recycling Centres. The council also delivers a wide range of community wellbeing services including sports provision, leisure facilities, community centres and a comprehensive arts programme.”

Cllr Carson concluded: “The long-term development of the area is important to the council, for current and future generations and we are looking to this in our Community Planning work and ongoing consultations to ratepayers.”

Reacting to the increase in business rates, Evan Morton, President of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, commented: “We don’t like to see increases, but we have to be realistic in that services have to be paid for.

“Rates are a major overhead for every business, small and large, so increases must be carefully calculated to minimize the impact.”