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Council sets district rate to support local services and investment in facilities
7th February 2020
At a Special Council Meeting held in the Townhall, Enniskillen on 06 February 2020, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council agreed to freeze the District Rate for businesses with a 0% increase to sustain the position of the lowest business rates charges in Northern Ireland.
Due to a number of factors including changes to valuations, this results in a 2.79% increase in the District Rate for domestic properties.
The increase means a domestic ratepayer with a property with an average capital value will pay approximately 22p more per week on the District Rate element of their overall rates bill. There will be no change in the District Rate element of the overall rates bill for the non-domestic ratepayer.
The income from the District Rate will be used to fund local Council services across the district in the forthcoming year and to support the initial development of a £100 million long term capital investment programme in local facilities and infrastructure.
The District Rate has been set in a financial climate of uncertainty and rising costs for the Council which has included reduced Central Government funding; the 2020 Revaluation of non-domestic properties undertaken by Land and Property Services (LPS), inflationary price increases and increases in the costs of waste collection and disposal.
The Council has worked to minimise the impact of cost increases on ratepayers by offsetting these through securing significant external funding towards key projects and programmes; making £500,000 efficiency savings across a number of its service areas; increasing total revenue at a number of its income generating facilities through improved business management and planning and making prudent use of its financial reserves.
The Council will begin to roll out its capital investment programme this year, with plans to invest more than £12.7 million – £6.7 million of which will be financed through external grant aid – in a number of environmental, urban regeneration and economic development, and tourism and leisure projects in 2020 – 2021.
Key projects within the multi-million capital investment programme for 2020-2021 include:
- £2 million to upgrade and develop recycling facilities across the district to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill;
- £1.5 million to upgrade and enhance Enniskillen town centre as part of the £5.2 million Enniskillen Public Realm Scheme
- £1.1 million to renew and develop 5 villages across the district through the Village Renewal Scheme
- £1 million for the second phase of redevelopment of Gortin Glen Forest Park to include redevelopment of visitor amenity facility and new walking and cycle paths. This is part of an overall £2 million project to turn Gortin Glen Forest Park into a must-visit family destination
- £1 million to develop the former Enniskillen Workhouse Entrance Block into a state-of-the-art business development hub and heritage space
- £1 million as part of a £1.5 million Full Fibre NI project to develop gigabit capable broadband infrastructure at a number of locations across the district
- £900,000 to refresh and upgrade play areas, parks and open spaces and off street car parks
- £850,000 to redevelop Marble Arch Caves visitor centre and further develop Cuilcagh visitor experience
A £36 million net revenue budget has been allocated to deliver a range of high quality, value for money Council services across the district and to support the ongoing operation of Council venues and facilities including leisure centres, theatres, visitor attractions; parks and open spaces; recycling centres, public conveniences and administrative buildings over the forthcoming year. It will also support a range of events and initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing of Fermanagh and Omagh residents and the district.
The District Rate was agreed following extensive financial planning by Council Members and Officers to ensure that adequate financial resource is available to meet Council priorities linked to the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030 and the Council’s Corporate Plan 2020-2024.
The total rates paid by Fermanagh and Omagh residents and businesses is made up from a combination of the Regional Rate and the District Rate.
As the Regional Rate – which funds central government services such as roads, education, health provision, emergency services, law and order, social services and community development – has still to be set by Central Government, the overall impact on rates bills cannot be determined at this time.
44% of total rates paid by Fermanagh and Omagh residents and 38% of the total rates paid by businesses goes to the Council to fund Council services and investment in local infrastructure. The balance of the rates goes to Central Government for the provision of Central Government services.