Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has announced details of local rates for the next financial year.

The rate set is aimed at mitigating the financial burden on residents and businesses whilst ensuring high-quality frontline services and the delivery of major investments planned in Mid and East Antrim.

These projects include Council’s private partnership bid for a Heathrow Logistics Hub, the ongoing development of digital infrastructure, facilitating the redevelopment of Glenarm, growing hotel provision, expansion of The Gobbins, the regeneration of St Patrick’s Barracks, establishing an Innovation Centre, and substantial investment in Carrickfergus town centre.

The rate striking was unanimously agreed by Elected Members at a special meeting of council on Wednesday evening.

Mid and East Antrim’s rate increase is among the lowest of Northern Ireland’s 11 local government authorities, with the body working to a very strict set of principles to ensure a rate which is value for money for the public whilst Mid and East Antrim remains one of the top-performing councils.

On 12 February, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agreed to a domestic district rate increase of 1.74% – approximately 0.14% less than last year’s level of a rate increase.

Council’s portion of the rates amounts to 48% of the rates bills received by residents and businesses in Mid and East Antrim, with the remainder set by the Stormont Executive.

The percentage increase represents an increase of 16 pence per week for the average household in Mid and East Antrim (equivalent to £8.32 per year), with the final total to be confirmed on the announcement of the regional rate.

The impact of the ‘Reval 2020’ exercise carried out by Land and Property Services has resulted in an additional 2.90% on the non-domestic rate.

The district rate increase represents a domestic rate of 0.4371 pence in the pound and a non-domestic rate of 30.9186 pence for 2020/21.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said the striking of a domestic district rate increase at 1.74% was achieved due to continued efficiencies by Council’s Elected Members and senior management team.

The Mayor said: “I commend the hard work of our elected members and council officers to drive continued efficiencies and savings throughout Mid and East Antrim.

“They have done so while also delivering and maintaining exceptional services to our ratepayers and identifying major investment opportunities for our borough.

“Our Council has again struck a rate which is fair and reasonable – in line with our consistent approach which is to keep our rates as low as possible whilst ensuring delivery on our commitments to secure and create jobs in Mid and East Antrim, attract new investment, grow our tourism industry and other key objectives.

“We are all too aware of the challenging economic climate and its impact on citizens and businesses, and they have been at the heart of our decision-making when striking this rate. This rate was achieved despite our borough having the largest drop in GVA previously and losing more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs in recent years.

“Local government reform is delivering for our ratepayers and we continue to see local decision-making bring substantial improvements for the citizens of the Borough.”

Through Reval2020, 74,000 non-domestic properties, including shops, offices and factories, have been officially revalued for the first time since 2015.