A substantial £3,059,353 of debt has been presented by callers to Ballymena CACI (Citizens Advice Commmunity Initiatives) in the past 11 months alone.
The revelation was contained in performance and monitoring statistics for the Wellington Court-based bureau presented to a Ballymena Council Committee as part of a progress report for elected members.
They were reminded that CACI are under a service level agreement with Council to provide advice services for the borough at a cost to the ratepayer of £93,108 per year.
A Council officer pointed out that targets were provided by CACI at the start of the project in 2013 and that they were on target to deliver on objectives.
She pointed out, for example, that the target set for advice enquiries of 5,000 per annum and been surpassed in the current figures (up to March 1, 2015) with ‘actual’ contacts to date totalling 6,905.
“It is crucial to note the level of debt presently being dealt with by the Bureau, continuing to evidence that financial issues continue to be high,” the officer stated.
The latest statistics showed that while projected total debt presented to the local Bureau had been set at £1.5m, the actual debt presented over the 11 month period up to March 1, 2015, totalled £3,059,353.69.