Rates in the borough are expected to rise by 1.97 per cent, or around 19 pence a week for the average homeowner.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council today (Monday) agreed to domestic and non-domestic rate increases for 2022-23, which will take effect from April 1.
This represents an additional 19p per week in the average domestic tariff bill – or £9.79 in total for the year – and an increase of £13 per month, or £156 per year for the average business.
Council ABC states that “this modest increase reflects the new budget established for 2022-23 and takes into consideration the unprecedented situation faced by residents and businesses due to the significant increase in energy prices and transportation, and the cost of living.
The agreed increase, he says, is necessary to ensure efficient service delivery and continued public improvements can be made, including the future provision of more than £19m of capital investment to boost the economy community and providing a comprehensive recovery and growth framework for the borough post-Covid-19.
Lord Mayor Glenn Barr said: ‘The applied rate is well below the current rate of inflation, currently at 5.4%, and is marginal compared to the significant increase in energy costs.
“The Council has tried to absorb as many of these costs as possible and in the face of other unavoidable pressures such as the new health and care tax.
“Members and officers have worked hard to achieve a rate that recognizes the challenges faced by local communities and businesses post-pandemic. This is why this decision represents a balanced and prudent approach, which will ensure the maintenance of capital investments in the borough and the protection and improvement of vital public services for every citizen.
The council says investing in the borough’s strategic recovery and growth is a key priority, with a particular focus on local employment and regeneration projects planned for the coming year. Other key priorities include a focus on health and wellness, community development projects, major public realm works that continue to roll out in key cities, and parks and open spaces that continue to benefit from a major and transformational investment program.
Deputy Mayor Jackie Donnelly, said: “I am pleased that, following a lively debate, Council has agreed to a budget which will keep any increase and burden on our taxpayer to an absolute minimum, while giving priority to the continuous improvement of service delivery and public facilities for our citizens. .
“Councillors from all parties are exceptionally aware that citizens and businesses in the Borough have faced significant challenges over the past two years due to the pandemic and other inflationary spikes.
“We hope that this modest increase in annual rates will contribute to the continued implementation of a diversified program of capital investment, economic recovery and growth, and support the well-being of all our citizens.”
The council has ambitious plans for the borough, including the bid to become Britain’s City of Culture in 2025. This culture-focused regeneration project brings a step change to local and regional investment for the borough, further developing the potential of major investment projects such as South Lake Leisure Center in Craigavon which has been a catalyst for growth in the local economy.
Key investments in urban and rural regeneration will be made under the 2022-2023 capital investment programme, with a major infrastructure project in Banbridge under the public domain scheme which will deliver high quality improvements to the current streetscape.
Further work is also underway for Tandragee and Waringstown, as well as heritage-focused regeneration programs in Armagh and Lurgan, and a railway improvement program in Portadown.
Substantial investment will also be provided for the continued implementation of the Council’s gaming strategy, additional investment in the replacement of all artificial pitches in the borough and other infrastructure developments at Gosford Forest Park. to enhance the iconic gambling and glamping areas as a major tourist attraction for the borough.
Citizens, according to the council, will also benefit from improvements in service delivery that will prioritize investments in renewable and sustainable technologies, such as additional electric charging stations and energy-efficient lighting, and support through an inclusive community growth strategy for all communities in the borough.
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