22 May 2022

Council strike zero rate after knife-edge vote

Mid Ulster District Council have voted for a 0% rates increase by the narrowest of margins.

Council strike zero rate after knife-edge vote

Mid Ulster District Council have agreed their rate increase for the 2021/22 financial year at a dramatic Special Council meeting this evening.

A rate of 1.59% had been proposed for approval by council officials, but a proposal from Cllr Meta Graham to strike a rate of 0% for the year prevailed in a vote by 17 votes to 16 after the SDLP bloc on the council abstained.

Independent councillors Dan Kerr and Barry Monteith both spoke in favour of a 0% increase during the debate on the issue, and in the end their votes proved decisive.

A council finance official had warned during the meeting that a 0% increase for 2021/22 could lead to a 5.83% increase next year if a number of financial pressure projections are brought to bear.

Proposals for a 0% increase centred around the council's current healthy financial position and recent windfall.

An increase of 1.59% would have meant a 68p per month increase on ratepayers' bills, or an annual increase of £6.75.

DUP leader on the council, Cllr Paul McLean, said the rates freeze was a ‘one-off’. 

“The DUP group, under Cllr Kim Ashton’s direction, clearly set out how this could be achieved and therefore believe that for a one-year period the rates increase should be zeroed,” he said.

”Our duty as elected councillors is to cater for everyone in society and therefore as a ‘one off’ we proposed on this occasion not to increase the rates within Mid Ulster District Council.

”We believe this is the right position to adopt on this occasion.”

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.