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Sinn Féin is determined that the ratepayers of Fermanagh get value for their money
Published: 12 February, 2015
Sinn Féin Councillor John Feely has said that the behaviour of the SDLP on the setting of the rates highlights the massive split within their party.
Councillor Feely said,
"The setting of the domestic rate at under 6% and non domestic rate at 0.85% was a difficult task given the changes that have happened under the Review of Public Administration.
"However this was made all the harder after Environment Minister Mark H Durkan reduced the rate grant by £374,000 who also cut £25,000 from the Construction Products Grant.
"New powers like Community Planning, Performance Improvement and the General Power of Competence being transferred to the Council without additional money coming from the Assembly costing ratepayers an extra £172,000.
"Transferring off street car parks to the new Council will cost the ratepayers an extra £40,000 to cover insurance and extra staff costs and another £39,000 for a new Commissioner of Complaints keeping the rates rise to below 6% and 1% respectively wasn't easy.
"Considering most of these extra costs were the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment Mark H Durkan I was amazed to see the four Fermanagh SDLP councillors vote against it. Especially when the SDLP group leader proposed the vote.
"What was more amazing is that the four Omagh SDLP councillors voted for the rate which highlights a party that is leaderless, divided and with no strategy for the future.
"The saddest part of the whole thing was that neither the UUP, the DUP or the SDLPs gang of four offered any alternatives during the Estimates Working Group or offered no alternatives tonight.
"They simply abdicated their responsibility and left the real work to Sinn Fein. If we had to have played silly games like the other parties a Minister in Belfast would now be setting the rate for the people of Fermanagh and Omagh.
"Sinn Féin is determined that the ratepayers of Fermanagh get value for their money and will work to ensure that rates are kept at an affordable level for both domestic and business users alike." ENDS
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