Rates funding will pay for key projects in Mid and East Antrim

The Gobbins Pathway. ''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Gobbins Pathway. ''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mid and East Antrim ratepayers are being advised of a discount option with their 2018/19 bills now arriving.

Issued by Land & Property Services (LPS) - part of the Department of Finance - the bill outlines the amount due and includes any debt from previous years that has not been paid, along with any rate relief where applicable.

A LPS spokesperson said: “There are currently 65,315 ratepayers in the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council area and through their payment of rates the much needed provision of a number of public services are ensured.

“This money is invested in vital public services locally and across Northern Ireland ranging from healthcare, education and roads to local services including recreational facilities, bin collection, building control, tourism and local events.”

The most convenient way to pay, LPS notes, is by direct debit and this can be set up online via www.nidirect.gov.uk/rates. Currently 59% of bills are paid by direct debit allowing ratepayers to spread the cost over the usual 10 month cycle (April-January).

There are other ways to pay too, including online via www.nidirect.gov.uk/rates, at any Post Office or Appoint outlet using the ‘Rates Quick Pay Card,’ by phone or in person at an LPS Customer Information Centre.

The Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena.

The Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena.

For domestic ratepayers, there is a 4% discount if they pay their bill in full on or before the discount date of May 11, 2018.

Legislation brought forward at Westminster implemented a 4.5% rise in the regional domestic rate. Business or non-domestic rate bills will rise only in line with inflation by 1.5%.

Following the Secretary of State’s statement on March 8, Small Business Rate Relief has now been continued for the 2018/19 rating year and will automatically be applied to eligible non-domestic rate accounts.

The District Rate Subsidy Scheme continues to apply to ratepayers whose rates increased significantly with the merger of some councils in April 2015. This is the final year of the scheme with the reduction now at 20%. The reduction is automatically applied and shown on your bill if you are eligible.

Anne Donaghy, council’s chief executive, said: “Rates funding allows the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council to progress with its ongoing commitments to provide high quality public services, facilities, key projects and programmes for our ratepayers from waste collection, local economic development to provision of local sport and leisure facilities.

“Key projects for this year include the exciting development at St Patrick’s Barracks, replacement of Seven Towers Leisure Centre and Waveney Community Centre in Ballymena; development works at The Gobbins and Blackhead cliff paths; replacement of Sandy Bay sports pavilion in Larne; provision of additional cemetery space within the borough, and provision of sports facilities at Greenisland.”

If there is any information on your bill which you think is incorrect, if your circumstances have changed or you are having trouble paying your rates, if you are not the ratepayer or if you have not received a bill, contact LPS on 0300 200 7801.