The Ulster Unionist grouping on Causeway Coast & Glens Council has reiterated their commitment to ensure that operating costs in the Council are kept to a minimum in order to deliver significant savings to the ratepayers of the Borough.
Councillor Darryl Wilson said:
“The Councillors and Council officers of Causeway Coast & Glens Council met on Thursday 4th of February to strike a rate for 2016 / 2017 and in the event, the rate was finalised at zero rate.
“The goal of the Ulster Unionist Party is to have our Council operating at optimum efficiency with lowest operating cost.
“In 2014 the electorate of Northern Ireland was promised that by merging the District councils into the 11 “super councils” would deliver millions of pounds in savings to domestic and non-domestic ratepayers”.
“This is why the Ulster Unionist party voted for a reduction of 3% in the rates, as we genuinely believe that there are efficiencies there whereby savings can be made.
“We have investigated a number of areas. It is a fact that we need to find ways of increasing footfall in our Leisure Centres. We also need to agree on best practices for operating Community halls and Town halls. We also need to examine how staff operates throughout the new enlarged Borough and ensure that staff working practices are as good as they can be.
“Council exists to provide services; however, that does not mean that we have to provide services in an inefficient manner. We rely on the private sector to pay for government and if we continue to burden our private sector we will have fewer businesses left on which to levy our rates, never mind fewer jobs.
“We as Councillors must guide our Council officers to have the will and determination to eliminate waste and adopt “lean” practices, but we need to see these reductions achieved in a more timely fashion to alleviate the crippling costs on our businesses and you the ratepayer.
“We are encouraged that some councillors from other parties agreed that they do appreciate our rationale and that a working group be set up to investigate how we start working to reduce costs for next year’s rates, however we are bitterly disappointed that other Councillors did not support our -3% proposal, which would have focused minds and efforts with immediate effect, instead they opted for an “as is” position which will provide a more comfortable financial situation for council over the coming year, a comfort which is unavailable to local householders and businesses who are forced to make tough budgetary choices day and daily. In essence Council have decided to put off until tomorrow what they could have started today”