The new District Rate for Derry City and Strabane District Council for the 2015/2016 financial year will be struck today at a Special Meeting of the newly amalgamated local authority.
The meeting will convene at the Guildhall today at 3pm (Friday, February 13, 2015).
A spokesperson for Council has said that as yet any reported increase is “purely speculative” and the final figure will not be clear until the meeting concludes. However the Council has also admitted that the process of making a final decision is likely to prove “ very challenging.”
In a statement Council said: “The new Council faces difficult times as it tries to deal with the costs associated with Local Government Reform, impacts arising from changes at DOE and DFP and issues relating to the reduction of the rate support grant. It is important to note that discussions are ongoing with a view to ensure that local government reorganisation and the establishment of the new Council for the Derry and Strabane areas will lead to economies of scale as well as opportunities for growth and better ways of delivering local services.”
Derry City and Strabane District Council moves from its ‘shadow’ format to assuming full powers at the beginning of April. The Reform of Public Administration has cut the 26 local authorities established in 1973 down to 11. The review process began in 2002, with proposals for either seven or eleven districts made before it was suspended in 2010. On 12 March 2012, the Northern Ireland Executive published its programme for government, which included a commitment to reduce the number of councils in Northern Ireland to 11. The first elections to these new councils were on May 22, 2014.