The Irish News this morning reports that Councillor Padraig McShane has obtained leaked documents that claim Causeway Coast & Glens Council need a 15 per cent hike in rates due to financial pressures.
He told the paper that ‘documents claimed the council was £75 million in debt and suggested a 15 percent increase in rates would be needed next year to run services.’
Mr McShane expressed serious concerns over the document, which he said was leaked to him, and called for a “full forensic audit” of the council.
“Something is fundamentally wrong in Causeway Coast and Glens. Councillors are being kept in the dark over the seriousness of the current situation,” he said.
In a statement on social media this morning Darryl Wilson said “As we approach striking the rate for the coming year, Councillors were informed yesterday that we are facing a budgetary shortfall of almost £7 million to roll out basic services.
The circa £7 million pounds is the equivalent of a rates increase of around 15%. (rate not yet decided /struck)
In the last 12 months a budgetary overspend has occurred in one service area reaching almost £4 million pounds, this alongside other internal and external factors has rapidly and unexpectedly depleted our reserves and in turn left us in a very difficult position financially.
We, alongside other elected representatives, are liaising with the senior management team to pinpoint the issues causing this deficit and in turn put measures in place to counteract these.
While we appreciate that in recent times some have raised concerns about the cost of hosting the Open, and Council not increasing car parking charges etc, these measures would have had had minimal impact on the cost and operating pressures we face today.
Going forward, some extremely tough decisions will have to be made to help balance the books and restore healthy operating figures within the organisation.
We will go into further details on what these measures will be as we work through the options available with staff. We fully appreciate the pressure that all households and businesses are under across the Borough, therefore it is vital that all councillors and political parties set aside their differences and work together to resolve this issue”.