The Board of Onchan District Commissioners have resolved that under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 2006 the District Rate for 2024/25 will be 411 pence in the pound, equating to a 10.19% increase.
Lead Member for Finance and General Purposes, Fenella Logan commented on behalf of the Board of Commissioners:
In setting the rate for the 2024/25 financial year, the decision to increase rates by 10.19% is rooted in the economic challenges faced. High inflation, escalating utilities, rising refuse costs including an 8% increase in gate costs at the energy from waste plant. These factors have contributed to the need for a 38 pence rise, from 373 to 411 pence in the pound.
In addition, this year will also see additional burdens such as increases to staff costs due to pay awards dictated by the unions, inflated material and subcontractor costs, and the commencement of loan repayments for the newly developed Eastern civic amenity site. Running costs have surged, reflecting the broader financial landscape. In spite of this, our decision to increase rates by 38 pence is motivated by the need to address these challenges head-on and to ensure that the services our community depends upon continue to be available.
Similar to previous years, we recognize the economic climate and acknowledge the impact on ratepayers. The decision to draw from Reserves rather than borrow aims to alleviate some of the financial strain on the community. This is what we have decided to do as we commence the initial phase of the long overdue infrastructure project for public lighting improvements across Onchan.
Simultaneously, we are investing in our commercial properties located on the Main Road, Onchan. Keeping these properties in good operating condition is essential for ensuring a sustainable revenue stream. As a result of our commercial property portfolio, we are able to reinvest in public services and community initiatives. As part of our commitment to enhancing community facilities, we are also upgrading the floor of the sports hall at our local community centre. This rate adjustment reflects a proactive response to ensure that services continue to be provided of a high quality, not only in the current year, but into the future as well.
The rate increase serves the dual purpose of sustaining essential services, addressing challenges of our older infrastructure, continuing maintenance investment in our property portfolio and retaining robust Reverses. The decision to increase rates to meet (or near meet) our running costs allows us to retain a strong Reserve position which affirms our commitment to responsible fiscal stewardship. Not extensively drawing from Reserves strategically enables us to navigate multifaceted challenges and maintain financial flexibility for future investments without resorting to high-interest borrowing.
In essence, the rate increase to 411 pence in the pound is not just a response to current financial pressures but a forward-looking strategy that positions Onchan for sustainable growth, prudent financial management, and the ability to seize opportunities as they arise. We extend gratitude to our dedicated team for their diligent financial management in navigating these unprecedented times and we express our gratitude to the community for their understanding and support as we work together to build a prosperous future for Onchan.