Fermanagh and Omagh District Council agrees new District Rate

11th February 2019

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has agreed the Council’s budget for 2019-20, striking an inflationary District Rate increase of 2.3% for 2019-20.

The Council has agreed that the domestic District Rate to be paid by Fermanagh and Omagh residents for 2019-20 is 0.3568p – a rise of 2.30%. This represents an increase of £0.75 per month on the District Rate element of the rates bill for the average household within District.

The non-domestic District Rate to be paid by Fermanagh and Omagh businesses is 21.8231p – a rise of 2.29%. This represents an increase of £6.80 per month on the District Rate element of the rates bill for the average business in the District.

As the Regional Rate – which is used to fund central government services and functions such as roads; education; emergency services; law and order; and health – has not been set by central government as yet, the overall impact on the ratepayer cannot be determined at this time.

The District Rate has been set by the Council to ensure that there is an adequate budget in place to support the delivery of Council services and investment in infrastructure at an affordable rate for Fermanagh and Omagh ratepayers, while taking into account a number of external financial challenges facing the Council in the year ahead.

These include the unforeseen and sudden reduction in the Rates Support Grant by central government of £700k in 2018-19. Further reductions to this grant will be applied in 2019-20 which will have to be financed by ratepayers.

Costs for waste collection and disposal and maintenance of the District’s parks and open spaces have also significantly increased due to changes in market conditions and additional demands placed on Council services due to fly tipping, littering and vandalism. Approximately 40% of the income generated from the District Rate will be used to cover these additional costs.

Pay awards, pay alignments and pension increases, agreed at a national level, will also be resourced through this year’s budget, while efficiency savings will be made across a number of Council service areas to offset general inflationary increases in costs.

The Council also faces a number of uncertainties for the 2019-20 financial year such as the potential for additional costs in relation to the outcome of the Brexit process and the availability of central government funding.

A £35m net revenue budget will be used to deliver a range of Council services across the district including waste collection and disposal; maintenance of parks and open spaces; environmental health; economic development; the ongoing operation of Council leisure centres, theatres and arts centres, visitor attractions, community facilities, public conveniences and administrative centres; and registration of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. The Council will also support a range of events and initiatives throughout the year aimed at improving the wellbeing of Fermanagh and Omagh residents.

During 2019-20, the Council plans to deliver a £12.5m capital programme. Some of the capital projects are dependent on securing external funding.

Key capital and infrastructure projects for 2019-20 include:

  • Enniskillen Public Realm Scheme (£2.5m of a £5m project)
  • Upgrades to pitches, playparks and play areas, public conveniences, access to the countryside and car park resurfacing (£1.9m)
  • Marble Arch Caves redevelopment (£1m)
  • Improvements to recycling facilities (£930k)
  • Village Renewal Scheme (£900k, currently in its final year of a 3-year programme)
  • Final phase of Gortin Glen Park development (£500k of a £1m project)
  • Works to improve access and customer experience at Council administration buildings (£360k)
  • Improvements to community centres in Kesh and Newtownbutler (£300k)
  • Roll out of final phase of road name signage, to include townlands, across the Council area (£250k)

The 2019-20 Council budget and District Rate was agreed following an extensive financial planning exercise with Member and officer participation which involved a thorough review of proposed capital plans; Council and Community Planning priorities and current budgets while being mindful of the impact on ratepayers and uncertainties in the current operating environment and the availability of central government funding.