MOD leave £1million bombshell for Limavady Ratepayers
Sinn Féin has reacted angrily to the announcement that the Military of Defence (MOD) have secured a £1million rates rebate on the properties they occupy at Ballykelly Barracks, Magilligan Point and Clooney Road.
The party's local economic spokesperson Cllr Paddy Butcher said:
"We are delighted to see the British Army demilitarise Ballykelly but we are not happy with the price to be paid.
"The rates assessment regulations were changed in 2003 and the MOD have been granted a rebate totalling £926,242 backdated to the year ending 2004. Of this £536,104 will be reclaimed from the Regional Authority but the rate payers of Limavady will be forced to pay the balance of £390,139."
Cllr Butcher who sits on the Limavady Audit Committee said the issue had been discussed at last weeks meeting of that committee.
"This will totally wipe out our reserves which already fall well below the minimum £700,000 level recommended by the Local Government Auditor. We are now running on an empty tank. This council's finalisation of the Penny Product for 2008/2009 will have to be adjusted by £390,000.
"We will demand that council officials appeal this decision. Sinn Féin contends that if the Rate Valuation Authority is responsible for this situation then they should pick up the bill not the rate payers of Limavady. We will also be demanding an explanation about why we were not informed of the MOD appeal at an earlier stage. When it comes to financial management surprises like this are just not acceptable. With the borough reeling from soaring unemployment this is the last thing we need. " CRÍOCH