The DUP have issued the following statement on the rates setting process following last nights council meeting.
Cllr John McAuley made the comments this afternoon saying:
“Following the councils decision to defer the rate setting process, and appoint CIPFA ‘Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy’ to give immediate and urgent assistance, by providing recommendations ahead of the legal deadline on February 15th with a report to members including a medium term financial plan and financial resilience review, the Causeway Council DUP group remain committed to setting a reasonable rate that provides for the ratepayers needs, whilst providing services that our community rely on at a value for money cost.
“Unfortunately, there is still concerns throughout the organisation that elected representatives are being ask to make decisions without full access to all of the relevant information. Appointment of CIPFA will provide reassurance from an independent source and help restore confidence in the organisation as a whole.
“Going forward, we will have extremely tough and no doubt unfavourable decisions to make in order to restore the organisation to a sound financial state, this will require teamwork between everyone in the council and elimination of the current ‘Cherry Picking opportunities’ by individuals and party groups for self interest and favourable headlines in their own areas.
“We are willing to strike a compromise on rates, provided that this is supported by a reform package to include a 3 year budget plan and recovery strategy with targets and KPIs for performance management. There needs to be a rank and file review of the organisation from top to bottom with no stone unturned in order to ensure that this situation never happens again.
“Councillors need to set their personal agendas to one side and solely concentrate on the task in hand, instead of grabbing headlines for personal gain. We are fully supportive of openness and transparency but allegations by some sections of the chamber last night and in the media are just irresponsible and counter productive at this stage in an environment where relations between many are already nothing short of toxic.”