CHALLENGE, OPPORTUNITY, GROWTH
Cllr. Elisha McCallion said: “The striking of this rate takes place just 6 weeks before the vesting of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council. It is a historic time, a time of challenge, a time of opportunity.
The main challenge lies in the reduction of support from the DoE and DFP Departments which has placed a significant burden on domestic ratepayers across the new council area but particularly in Strabane.
The Non-Domestic Revaluation in the Strabane area has led to an absurd anomaly which means that we now have a reduction in the convergence funding and one of the first tasks for the new Council is to challenge DFP on this unfair system which penalises domestic rate payers.
The 15% reduction in the Rates Support Grant by the DoE again penalises our Council which already faces up to some of the highest levels of deprivation and economic need across the north. Again this needs to be challenged.
The Rates increase, therefore, is largely down to factors beyond our Council’s control. Despite these challenges what we have attempted to do, however, is build for the future.
Our Capital Plan amounts to £130m worth of projects across many facets of Council activity – all of these designed to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
Economic Development & Town Centre Regeneration, Leisure & Sports, Community Centres & Parks – all of this will be part of our new Council’s ambition on behalf of those we represent. And we will pursue these objectives in conjunction with continuing to provide ratepayers with high quality front line services.”
On the 1st April we will move into a new era for Local Government. As the largest party Sinn Féin is up for the challenge of leading Derry City and Strabane District Council towards a better future – a future which will serve all our citizens better than anything which has gone before.”