Council strikes rate and agrees budget for 2022/2023 

15th February 2022

PLEASE NOTE: This article is over 1 year old and may not contain the most up-to-date information.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council agreed its budget and set the District Rate for 2022/2023 at a Special Council Meeting held virtually and live streamed via Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s YouTube channel on Monday 14 February 2022.

The setting of the District Rate will raise approximately £38m revenue for the Council with an additional £3.3m provided by central government funding and the use of almost £0.58 m of reserves to fund local Council services and investment in infrastructure in 2022/2023 across the district.

Speaking after the Special Council Meeting, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, said:

“By setting the District Rate and agreeing the budget for 2022/23, the revenue raised will enable the Council to deliver services across the district in the forthcoming year. It will support the delivery of the first year of an ambitious £100 million 5-year capital investment programme in local facilities and infrastructure which will leave the district with facilities that will be commensurate with the needs of residents in the 21st century. The revenue from the rates will also support the continued recovery of businesses who were heavily impacted by the Covd-19 pandemic.

In line with Covid-19 restrictions, the Council, like many other organisations, has in the past year, experienced a significant reduction in its income due to the closure or reduction in capacity of a number of its income generating services. Costs incurred in the delivery of frontline services have also increased  due to additional demands and the implementation of Covid secure working service arrangements.

These have presented significant challenges and budgetary pressures. However, Council officers have once again worked to review overheads and other areas of expenditure across the Council. This will produce efficiency savings in the next financial year to offset these losses and cost increases so as to minimise the impact on ratepayers overall.

The Council is committed to ensuring that the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area is a great place in which to work, live, visit and invest and the Council will continue to work in partnership with other key stakeholders to achieve that objective.”

Waste management including recycling services, street cleansing and maintaining clean and tidy open spaces accounts for the largest net expenditure at £17m.  The remainder of the budget finances the operation of the Council and delivery of services across the district, the ongoing operation of Council venues and facilities. It will also help to fund the delivery of a range of projects and initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing of Fermanagh and Omagh residents and the district.

The Council has proposed a capital investment of £14.6m in local infrastructure, which includes and is subject to receipt of external funding of almost £4m. In line with a capital plan for the next financial year, a number of environmental, urban regeneration and economic development, tourism and leisure projects will be progressed. Some of these projects include the Covid Small Settlement and Village Renewal programmes, Enniskillen Workhouse, development of Recycling facilities across the district and additional investment in the Waste Transfer Stations at Drummee and Gortrush, the development of the Destination Play Park at the Grange Park, Omagh and the delivery of year 1 of the Council’s Play Strategy to include the upgrade of various play facilities across the district.

The budget and the District Rate increase of 2.72% for both domestic and non-domestic properties were agreed at the Special Council Meeting following extensive financial planning by Council Members and Officers.  All relevant factors were taken into consideration to ensure that adequate financial resource is available to meet Council priorities linked to the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030.

The district rates increase when coupled with the regional rates freeze will see the overall rates bill increase by 1.2% which represents a below inflation rate increase.

In monetary terms, the increase means a domestic ratepayer with a property with a value of £114,500, which represents the average property value in the district, will pay approximately 23p more per wee​k on their 2022/2023 overall rates bill. Non-domestic (business) ratepayers with an average net annual value of £18,000 will pay approximately £2.07 more per week on their rates bill over the next financial year.

45% of total rates paid by Fermanagh and Omagh residents and 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 such as roads, education, health, emergency services, law and order, social services and community development.

A more detailed breakdown of the rates and budget can be accessed here.