Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
ANBCouncil in ‘very favourable’ financial position with £50.2m in rates income
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council brought in £50.2m through rates income during the last financial year, councillors have been told.
Speaking at a meeting of the Audit and Risk Committee, on Tuesday evening, head of finance John Balmer told members the authority is in a “very favourable” position.
He reported assets worth £192m in a rise from £189m. He also told councillors of expenditure during the 12-month period of £69m.
Capital projects including the new crematorium which is under construction at Doagh Road, Newtownabbey and £700,000 for the recently opened skate park beside V36 also in Newtownabbey amounted to more than £6.6m.
He noted expenditure of £400k on car park repairs.
“One big change has been in the cash position,” he stated.
Mr Balmer indicated that the authority has the sum of £6.4m on account boosted by the sale of the council’s central services depot during the 12-month period and an insurance payment following a fire at Steeple House in Antrim.
He went on say the council has repaid £2.5m and has not had to borrow any money during the last financial year.
Despite the council’s “healthy financial position”, the officer reported risks to finances including “inflationary pressures” especially in terms of energy costs.
Speaking at the meeting, Antrim Ulster Unionist Councillor Jim Montgomery said:
“Those figures were good to see. Both our short-term and long-term borrowing has decreased which is good for our ratepayer.
“Funding received from central government has been a help to us but when we compare ourselves to other councils, we are in a better position.
“There may be pressures ahead of us with inflation and cost of matters we do not know about. We are in a very very healthy position which reflects well on everybody involved in council and benefits our ratepayers considerably.”
In March, the council approved a rates increase of 1.9% with Antrim Alliance Cllr Neil Kelly suggesting that a lesser figure would result in a £1.9m deficit.