NMDC agrees the District Rate for 2017/2018

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

AT a meeting of the council on Monday, February 6, 2017, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDC) agreed its budget for the next financial year (from April 1 2017 to March 31 2018).

This represents a 2.66% increase in the District Rate. This moderate increase will cover the cost of the public services the council is responsible for, including: a wide range of environmental services such as refuse collection and street cleansing, the economic regeneration of our District, the provision of leisure and community facilities and planning.


What does this mean for Ratepayers in Newry, Mourne & Down?

The rates that you pay every year are made-up of the District Rate (which is agreed by the council) and the Regional Rate (which is agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive).

This money, along with the block grant that the Northern Ireland Executive receives from Westminster, is used to pay for public services.

There are also differences in the rates set for households and those set for businesses.

These are known respectively as the Domestic and Non-Domestic Rates.


Further information on this difference is provided below.


1. Domestic Rate

The Domestic Rate for 2017/2018 will be 0.3692 pence (2016/2017 equivalent 0.3596 pence) which is an increase of 2.66% for the council element.

For a property valued at £100,000, the annual increase of the District Rate for 2017/18 will be £9.80 or 82 pence per month.


2. Non Domestic Rate

A 2.66% means the Non Domestic District Rate for 2017/2018 will be 22.9904 pence (2016/2017 22.3951 pence).


Major Investment in our District

The council remains, despite many challenges, committed to delivering on our strategic priorities, as set out in our Corporate Plan for the period 2015-2019.

During 2017/2018 we will complete the construction of a major leisure centre, Newry Leisure Centre Phase 2 ,which will provide state of the art indoor leisure facilities including gym, sports halls, class studios, squash and handball courts, café, soft play and other facilities.

We will also continue the construction of our new Leisure Centre in Downpatrick also offering a wide range of high quality leisure facilities for completion in 2018/19.

The internal upgrade of Newry Town Hall will be completed in 2017/18 and Camlough Lake will also open for water sports and activities in 2017/18.

These major projects represent a combined investment of almost £39 million and will provide our ratepayers with two very modern Leisure Facilities in addition to our other leisure services currently available.

The council has also completed two key leisure strategies during the 2016/17 year, these being the Play Strategy and Sports Facilities Strategies.

This will mean the council will undertake substantial investment over the next four to five years in new and upgraded Play Facilities whilst also upgrade existing Sports Facilities including pitches and pavilions.


Over the next 12 months the council will:

1. Develop an Environmental Improvement Scheme and Town Heritage Initiative in Downpatrick.

2. Commence the Warrenpoint Municipal Park Regeneration Project.

3. Undertake the Phase 2 Town Hall Newry Development.

4. Develop a play park at Mayobridge and implement upgrades to play parks in Newcastle, Meigh, Killyleagh, Camlough, Castlewellan, bolwing pavilions in Newcastle and Warrenpoint, Sports Pavilllions at Ardglass, Dunleath and Bann Road, Ardglass football pitch, Carlingford Park, Kickabout area as well as tennis facilities across the district.

5. Progress the Saintfield Community Centre and Enterprise Hub Programme.

6. Develop community facilities in Ballynahinch.

7. Dredge Castle Park Boating Lake in Newcastle.

8. Extend the Brown Bin Scheme (Food Waste Collection).

9. Replace NI Direct call management for Planning with internal call management.

10. Develop the Carlingford Louth Greenway Project in partnership with Louth County Council.

11. Provide recycling for commercial properties in legacy Down District.

12. Implement the Pavement Cafe legislation and licensing.


Regenerating our District

The regeneration of our District remains a key priority and over the next 12 months.

The council will launch its Tourism Strategy and Industry Development Programme and will deliver two Visitor Experience Development Plans.

The Mourne Coast Experience Development Plan including Downpatrick and villages to coast of Lecale through the heritage of St Patrick.

It will commence work on development of the Geopark Application from Mourne/Gullion. It will develop a storybook of Ireland based on the district identifying significant stories that can be used to enhance existing and new experiences.

The council will expand the number of festivals building on those delivered in 2016/'17 such as St Patrick's Festival Downpatrick and Newry, Skiffie Worlds, Festival of Flight, Wake the Giant, Footsteps in the Forest, Ballynahinch Game and Harvest Festival, Narnia, Halloween Newry and Newcastle, Christmas Newry and Downpatrick, and Christmas Twilight. The Council worked in partnership with Warrenpoint, Crossmaglen, Downpatrick, Newcastle, Ballynahinch and Kilkeel Communities and Chambers to deliver the Halloween and Christmas events.

The key events supported by Council included Circuit of Ireland, Rostrevor Choral Festival, Blues On the Bay, Soma Festival, Fiddler's Green Festival, Iúr Cinn Fleadh, Montalto Ballynahinch and Hans Sloane Chocolate Festival.

The overall economic value to the district of these events was £9.5 million.

The council will procure and implement its Business Start Programme funded by Investing for growth and jobs programme - planned to complete 255 Business plans which will result in 155 jobs.

It will develop further Environmental Improvements Schemes across the district and continue implementation of Master plans.

It will continue to implement the £11 million Rural Development Strategy via a series of calls across all themes.

The council is the lead partner in £2.7 million Social Investment Work it Programme.

It will also progress the development of the Carlingford Lough Greenway Project in partnership with Louth County Council with funding secured from the INTERREG 5A programme.


Enhancing our Communities

The council will continue to work closely with the local community and voluntary sector and with other Government Departments to lever in external funding in support of our communities.

We are leading on the local delivery of the Social Investment Fund, which is funded through the Northern Ireland Executive's Office, over £2 million of funding has been approved to provide 3G pitches in Downpatrick, Ballyhornan and Kilcooley and redevelop Castlewellan Community Centre into a modern and accessible venue for the community. Approximately £4.25 million of funding under the European Union's PEACE IV Programme has been offered to NMDC.

This funding will be used to support a number of locally based projects and initiatives that will promote positive relations between people from different communities and backgrounds.

We will continue to provide opportunities for our communities to access funding for local projects across a number key areas, specifically; community engagement, community events, summer schemes, community safety and good relations.

Council remains committed to supporting our community sector in the development of both community infrastructure and capital projects.

We aim following agreement to make additional resource available, to continue to build partnerships with local groups and directly support and deliver much needed community centre provision on the ground.

Community engagement also remains a priority for council and we have established 7 District Electoral Areas Forums.

We will continue to support the implementation of the Community Plan via input at operational, thematic and strategic levels.

We will extend the "Down your Street, Live Here Love There" grant scheme providing funding between £500 to £3000 for a range of environmental projects emphasising civic pride.

Commenting on setting the rates for 2017/18, NMDC Chairperson councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said: "The council continues to face very challenging demands in today's environment and we are pleased following much consideration and discussion to be able to strike a rate which reflects citizens expectations at this time.

“We have ensured there is no negative bearing on service delivery to our citizens during these demanding times as we seek to continue to deliver the high quality service our citizens expect and deserve.

“I wish to thank my fellow councillors and Senior Management for their cooperation in and commitment to achieving a realistic rate for 2017/18."

Chief Executive of the council Liam Hannaway, added: "We have now completed the second year of our Corporate Plan 2015-2019. This will mean bringing many of our key projects to fruition in 2017/18.

“Our commitment to developing the District's leisure and play infrastructure will enhance the quality of life of all our citizens.

“The many and varied key events we held and supported raised the profile of this area on a local, national, and international basis and enhanced the economic wealth of our district.

“The regeneration of the district remains a key priority and throughout 2017/18 the council will continue to lead on this whilst levering major funding for the area.

“We will continue to engage closely with our communities to develop their capacity and through our Community Plan we will work together with all our partner agencies and stakeholders to achieve agreed outcomes for the benefit of all."


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