65,000 NW ratepayers get bills for 2015/16 in the post

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Rates bills for 2015/16 have been dropping through the letter boxes of 65,000 ratepayers in Londonderry and Strabane with new Council boss John Kelpie saying a “capital investment programme” and the development of the city and district’s festivals and events will be high amongst the authority’s spending priorities as far as district rate revenues are concerned.

“The Council’s key focus is on economic, social and environmental regeneration with specific emphasis on the capital investment programme,” he said.

“The Council is also working to develop the city and district’s festivals and events and growing business support alongside opportunities to sustain, promote and create jobs.”

The bills show the amount due for the new billing period 2015/16, including any debt that may have been carried forward from previous years, along with any rate relief where applicable.

The Department of Finance and Personnel’s Land and Property Services (LPS), issue rate bills and collect monies on behalf of the NI Executive and local councils.

From this year, for the first time, each domestic ratepayer in Northern Ireland will receive a personalised annual rates statement with their bill.

This will give each household an indicative breakdown of what their rates are used for, for example, how much is spent on health, on education, on roads and other vital public services.

The Non-domestic Revaluation has been completed and bills for businesses have been calculated using the new rateable values. The rateable value is an estimate of the annual rental value of the property, as at April 2013.

A District Rate Subsidy has been introduced for those ratepayers most affected by significant rises in their rate bill that are a direct result of the councils merging. The subsidy, which will be phased out over four years, applies to domestic and non-domestic ratepayers. If you are eligible, the reduction will be shown on page two of your rate bill as a District Rate Subsidy. The amount of District Rate Subsidy awarded will be shown in the Exemptions/ Reliefs/ Allowances section.

If there is any information on the bill which is incorrect, or your circumstances have changed, you should contact LPS immediately on 0300 200 7801.

An LPS spokesperson said: “There are around 65,000 ratepayers in the new Derry City and Strabane District Council area and through the payment of their rates they help to fund the provision of a number of vital public services.

“This includes healthcare, education and roads as well as helping to fund a wide range of Council services and facilities, ranging from building control and bin control to tourism and local events.”