Down District Council Freezes District Rate At Zero Despite 1.99% Proposal


Down District Council agreed to freeze the District Rate for 2014/15 – the second time in four years that there has been no increase.

It is also the last time that Down District Council will strike the rate before it merges with Newry and Mourne District Council from 1 April 2015.

[caption id="attachment_33868" align="alignright" width="350"]Down District Councillors have strick the final rate for the Council at zero. Down District Councillors have strick the final rate for the Council at zero.[/caption]

On Monday 10 February 2014 Down District Council struck its District Rate for the coming year.  The Council agreed an increase of 0% increase to the Domestic District Rate despite a recpommendation from the Rates Working Group of 1.99 %.

Down District Council Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy saod: “We are acutely aware of the financial pressures that people are dealing with and how difficult it is to make ends meet and tonight’s rates freeze is an indication of our desire to provide much needed support and help ratepayers in our district.”

“The Council has sought to keep the rates down both this year and over the last four years.   The average increase in our District Rate over the last four years has been 1.16% which is impressive when compared to the fact that inflation has increased by 3.75% over the same four year period.”

She added: “Over the last four years the Council has worked hard to keep any increase well below the inflation rate while at the same time continuing to make significant investment in the District”.

In the coming financial year 2014/15 Down District Council will continue to develop and invest in the district;

*   over £100,000 will be invested in events across the district to help drive further economic benefit from tourism;

*   £200,000 legacy fund will be established to allow sports clubs to access further capital and develop their sports provision within the district;

*   over £1M will be invested in the development of our Forest Parks so as to realise their untapped recreational and leisure potential;

*   an additional six play parks will be created across the district in an effort to help shape healthy lifestyles for our children; the design will be completed and the procurement of a ‘state-of-the-art’ leisure centre in the heart of Downpatrick will commence.

This leosure centre will be easily accessible by everyone in the district and will also play a key part of the revitalisation of the town centre; and £300,000 will be invested in further development projects and initiatives which will enhance the district in which we live, work and visit.

The Chairman of the Rates Working Party, Cllr Dermot Curran has thanked the members and officers for their work and remarked, “Each year we set out to maintain a difficult balancing act between the need to minimise or eliminate any rate increase but also continue to deliver high quality services and ensure our District has the facilities and services it deserves”.

Cllr Maria McCarthy added: “The Council has an excellent track record of investing in local facilities and will continue to do so in an effort to support the local economy.  We will continue to work in partnership with many other agencies and will continue to explore opportunities to secure any external funding which may be available to support future schemes.”