Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley has said DCSDC have delivered almost £120m worth of projects within the Council area, encouraging investment and increased the attractiveness of the region for growing numbers of visitors.Speaking at the striking of the district rates for 2019, Cllr. McGinley also confirmed that Council intends to deliver strategic projects worth over £220m in the coming term.
“Since the inception of the new council Sinn Féin has endeavoured to strike an annual rate which balances the need for meeting statutory pressures and investing in growth but without placing unreasonable demands on homeowners and businesses,” he commented.
“When we look at the achievements of the Council over the past 4/5 years we believe we have largely succeeded in delivering key projects and initiatives across the entire area and created an environment which has encouraged investment and increased the attractiveness of the region for growing numbers of visitors.
“In capital works alone we are close to delivering almost £120m worth of projects within the Council area. Our investment in events and festivals has placed the Council on the world-wide stage providing entertainment for our citizens and creating income opportunities for our local businesses. And this Council – in a period of political instability and uncertainty – has played a key leadership role in promoting the North West region as a place to set up business, to visit, to stay and to build a future.
“Sinn Féin is committed to ensuring that the positivity of this council term is built upon in the years ahead and we view the striking of the proposed rate as a key step on the continued path of growth and opportunity.
“When we examine the breakdown of the rates proposal the largest part of our statutory pressures comes from pay awards and pension costs and we are happy to meet those obligations because it is essential that council staff – particularly those on the lower paid scales – are rewarded for their efforts.
“These costs are offset to a significant degree by the efficiencies which have been identified within council budgets and we appreciate the work which has been undertaken by officers in this regard because the scope for further efficiencies will become more difficult.
“We believe it is very important to note that over 90% of the proposed rates increase is based around service developments, new initiatives and – particularly – our Capital Plan/ City Deal investment.
“Our ambition over the course of the next council term is to deliver strategic projects worth over £220m. These projects include leisure, culture, tourism and town centre regeneration and their completion will significantly change the physical and economic landscape within this council area.
“Such an ambitious programme requires significant rates investment but Sinn Féin is committed to providing the strategic leadership required to deliver on these ambitions and it is in this context that we would propose the striking of the rates at the recommended figure.