Derry City Council today struck a rates increase of 1.98%.
Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming said the increase represented in real terms 31 pence increase per week to the average residential ratepayer.
Cllr Fleming added that Council’s key strategic approach to the rates process was to achieve a balance between investing for the future and keeping the increase as low as possible whilst at the same time providing vital local and regional services.
“Council has successfully held its own controllable expenditure at 0.21%. This was achieved through efficiency savings and when you consider that improvement initiatives represent 2.3%, the district rate increase of 1.98% reflects in real terms a 0.32% reduction,” he said.
The council further agreed to allocate an initial £12.7m from its Leisure Development Fund for a rebuild of Templemore Sports Complex.
Cllr Fleming continued:”The next step forward for this project will be for Council to commission an Outline Business Case to inform the best design that will maximise income opportunities and inform overall cost and balance funding options.
“It is proposed that the remaining £1m within the Leisure Development Fund will be ring-fenced for community projects and a cross agency community facility review will help to identify and prioritise projects,” he said.
Furthermore Cllr Fleming said he was pleased to report a continued decrease in the funding for the City of Derry Airport (CODA), by £145,900 (6.6%).
He said route expansion remained a key priority and CODA was currently well positioned to exploit any opportunities that may arise when the economy recovers.
Derry’s Mayor Kevin Campbell also welcomed the low increase saying officers and members had worked collectively to ensure best value for rate payers.
He said it was a key priority for Council to impose an increase that would allow it to improve local and regional services and maximise the huge opportunities presented by the City of Culture in 2013.