Fermanagh home owners and businesses are set for a rate rise as Fermanagh Councillors prepare to meet tomorrow night (Thursday) to consider a draft budget for the year ahead and to set the District Rate.

In a statement issued this week the Council said it "anticipates that it will make a minimal increase to the 2020-2021 District Rate." Last year the District Rate rose by 2.3 per cent.

The District Rate is set by the Council annually to fund local Council services and investment in infrastructure. A Regional Rate is set by stormont, with funds from this rate going to central government. Only when the district and regional rate are known will house owners and business owners know their final rates bill. Stormont is expected to set the regional rate next month. 

In its statement the Council has said that it "has focussed on minimising the impact of the 2020-2021 District Rate on ratepayers while ensuring it continues to provide high quality, value for money services to residents, ratepayers and visitors to the district."

The Council explained that it plans to keep the rise to a minimum through securing more external grant aid, efficiency savings within its own services and by dipping into its financial reserves to pay for "key services and projects".

Many businesses in Fermanagh will be anxiously waiting to hear what rise the Council will implement. A recent Stormont Revaluation of non-domestic properties saw a huge hike for some businesses in their property values which will already be passed on to their next rates bill. Any further rises imposed by the Council will see businesses paying out more.

The Council explained that the there has been "extensive planning" in preparation of its draft budget: "The draft budget has been developed following extensive financial planning by Council Members and Officers which has taken all these factors into consideration to ensure that adequate financial resource is available to meet Council priorities linked to the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030 and the Council’s Corporate Plan 2020-2024."