Fermanagh and Omagh District Council agrees new District Rate

9th February 2018

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has struck an inflationary District Rate increase of 3% for 2018/19.

The district rates process is undertaken annually by the Council to meet its legislative requirements to ensure that there is sufficient resource in place to support the delivery of Council services and investment in local infrastructure for the forthcoming financial year, while ensuring that the rate is affordable for ratepayers.

The domestic District Rate (paid by residents) for 2018/19 is 0.3488p – a rise of 3%. This represents an increase of £0.93 per month on the District Rate element of the rates bill for the average household (domestic ratepayer) within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area.

The non-domestic District Rate (paid by businesses) is 21.3348p – a rise of 3%. This represents an increase of £8.54 per month on the District Rate element of the rates bill for the average business (non-domestic ratepayer) within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area.

The total amount of rates paid by Fermanagh and Omagh District residents and businesses is made up from a combination of the Regional Rate and the District Rate.

The Regional Rate is set by Central Government and represents the largest portion of the overall rates bill which residents and businesses pay. The Regional Rate contributes towards the cost of providing services such as roads; education; health provision; emergency services; law and order; social services and community development.

As the Regional Rate has not yet been set by Central Government the overall impact on domestic and non-domestic rates bills cannot be determined at this time.

The District Rate is used to fund and improve key local Council services such as refuse collection and recycling; leisure and recreation; building control and planning; tourism and events; community services; economic development and environmental health. It is also used to invest in key capital and infrastructure projects within the district to enhance the quality of life and the local environment for all.

44% of the total rates paid by Fermanagh and Omagh residents and 38% of the total rates paid by businesses goes to the Council to fund these key services and development of Council owned infrastructure in the local community.  The balance of the rates i.e. 56% of domestic rate and 62% of non-domestic rate, goes towards the provision of Central Government services.

During the 2018/19 financial year Fermanagh and Omagh District Council plans to invest more than £10m in capital and infrastructure projects within the district. Some of the projects are dependent on securing funding from sources external to the Council.

Examples of planned investment key capital and infrastructure projects for 2018/19 in the Fermanagh and Omagh District include:

  • Improving and enhancing access to the countryside to include lakes and forests (£1m)
  • Village Renewal Scheme to renew and develop 15 villages across the district (£745k of total project cost £1.2m)
  • Refurbishment and upgrade of community centres and facilities across the district (£420k)
  • Improvements to recycling facilities (£900k) and development of Drummee landfill site (£250k)
  • Works to transform former football pitch at St Julian’s Road, Omagh into an attractive open space for the local community (£270k of total project cost £320k)
  • First phase of roll out of new road name signage across the district, to include road names and townlands (£425k)
  • Upgrades to sports pitches, play areas, public conveniences, general cemetery works and car parks (£840k)
  • Completion of Omagh Riverside Walk development (£900k of total project cost £1.2m)
  • First phase of Enniskillen Public Realm Scheme (£150k of a total project cost of £5.2m)
  • Refurbishment to Council buildings to consolidate the number of administrative buildings and to improve access and customer experience (£1.05m)

A £33.3m net revenue budget (£45m gross) has also been allocated to deliver Council services across the district.

These services include waste collection, street cleansing, registration of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships, environmental health, economic development and community planning amongst others.  It also funds the ongoing operation of Council venues and facilities such as leisure centres, theatres and art centres, visitor attractions, parks and open spaces, recycling centres, public conveniences and administrative buildings. This budget allows the Council to support a range of events and initiatives during the year aimed at improving the lives and wellbeing of the people in our district. Waste management, including litter prevention and street cleansing, accounts for just over £10m or 30% of the Council’s net expenditure.

The District Rate was agreed following an extensive and robust financial planning exercise overseen by the Council’s Estimates Working Group.

The Council agreed its new rate on the basis of minimising the impact on ratepayers while continuing to invest in local infrastructure and to deliver high quality value for money services, whilst at the same time, taking into account a range of factors that will impact on Council budgets such as changes in the current operating environment and uncertainty around the availability of Central Government funding.