Belfast City Council tonight has agreed for the first time in four years to increase district rates by 1.48%.
The council has for years made efficiencies of £20 million since 2006 and has set a target of £2 million a year for until 2019.
The council says that the effect on ratepayers will be small arguing that on average the increase represents;
33p per month more for a terraced house.
50p for a three bedroom semi-detached house.
£1.12p for four bedroom detached homes.
The business sector will see an increase of £8.67 per month for an office and £8.46p for retail.
Had the council not agreed to an increase an immediate deficit £2,1 million would have emerged to pay for cost increases beyond its control.
Yet, it was not a very happy debate in council tonight as the UUP attempted to block the decision, arguing that rates should not be increased and that the council should look again at the budget.
Over the hour long debate, contentious debates between the Alliance/DUP and the UUP took place with the Alliance group leader accusing the UUP’s Jim Rodgers of “mumbo jimbonomics.”
Alderman Rodgers did admit that he did not have anything down in “black and white” to detail what savings he would go for to stop a rates increase.
Regardless, when the debate did come to close, there was a strong majority on the council in favour of increasing rates.
Sinn Fein, Alliance and SDLP (except Declan Boyle) voted for an increase.
UUP, TUV and Gerry Carroll voted against the increase.
DUP, PUP and Ruth Patterson abstained.
31 for the increase, 9 against, 16 abstained.