Ballymena councillor Eugene Reid has welcomed the beginning of the rates estimate process locally, saying the final figure struck must be balanced, fair and sustainable.
Discussions around the setting of next year’s domestic and non-domestic rate are due to get under way in the Mid & East Antrim Borough in the coming weeks ahead of the introduction of next year’s rates rollout in April 2020.
SDLP representative Cllr Reid said it is vital the process delivers a rate that is affordable for residents and business owners while also safeguarding significant investment in the area.
In a statement to ‘Ballymena Daily’ he said: “I’m glad to see the rates process beginning earlier this year in Mid and East Antrim and councillors getting around the table to thoroughly examine, interrogate and talk through our options.
“As an elected representative and having been heavily involved in business for decades, my focus is on achieving the very best result for all the people of our area.
“It is a very hard time for many of our businesses and residents, and we must ensure we are not adding to their financial burden, rather providing opportunities and creating the conditions for growth and prosperity.
“The political vacuum at Stormont, fears around Brexit, and the wider review into business rates are cause for a huge deal of uncertainty and I am all too aware of the impact and strain that causes.
“That’s why I am committed to doing all I can to support our entrepreneurs and drive job creation, investment and the growth of our economy.
“I am 100% pro-business. Successful town centres and thriving local businesses are at the very heart of realising this Council’s number one strategic priority of growing our economy.
“It is all about getting the balance right and I will be holding my fellow councillors to account throughout this process to ensure the rate determined does not adversely impact on our businesses and residents, while at the same time safeguarding and improving the services delivered by this Council.”
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