MEMBERS of the Causeway Coast and Glens are to meet tonight to strike a rate for 2018-19.

However, a member of the public was outraged that for the fourth year in a row, a negative rate is to be struck.

Speaking to Causeway Coast Community exclusively she says: “As a ratepayer, I am of course concerned about any increase in rates. However, just like I manage my own household budget, I would imagine the same applies to the Council although in a much larger scale.

I budget to pay my way, and any surplus is for the benefit of my family.

As a mother of three, keenly interested in the many sports in the Borough, I cannot see how Councillors continually striking a low rate can plan for the improvement of facilities for us, the ratepayer.

I have been told in response to queries around simple things like grass cutting and street cleansing, that Councillors are to blame for continually failing to strike a balance between what services are vital and what service are needed.

I also notice that at least three of the current crew of councillors have a vested interest.

Councillors Clarke, Hillis and Holmes all operate businesses in the Borough and surely they have a conflict of interest in wanting to pay no extra rates as businessmen in the Borough.

Why are they allowed to vote on such issues?

Take a look around this town (Coleraine) once the amalgamation of four Councils, Coleraine looks like a second rate town.

How is this Council to pay for increased energy costs, wage rises, fuel increases and national insurance contributions?

Unkept grass verges, dirty buildings (council owned) grass and weeds growing out of buildings in the town centre; a disgraceful Leisure Centre not fit for purpose; cuts in support to community group funding and a severe threat to major events like the North-West 200, the Northern Ireland Supercup, the International Airshow and the Open Golf coming just around the counter.

Our heads are in the sand, parochial councillors are out of touch, out of date and apparently lacking in civic pride.

Thankfully, there is an election coming up in 2019.

This is an opportunity for us ratepayers to band together and vote for forward looking councillors who have a grasp of what this great town needs to grow and compete for employment opportunities.

There is a band of councillors from the UUP, DUP and SDLP who will be watching over their shoulders.

As a former employee of Coleraine Borough Council I am flabbergasted at the quality of councillors currently sitting in the chamber.

Businessmen voting with a vested interest of low rates reminds me on the bad old days when only businessmen were involved in councils across Northern Ireland.

This town (Coleraine) has been under the lash of the business community for long enough, time for change, time for strategic voting come 2019.”

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