IN THE next 48 hours, Causeway Coast and Glens Council is set to hold two crucial meetings in an attempt to settle the ongoing rates row and other debates across the Borough including car parking.
Tomorrow evening (Wednesday), Councillors will enter the Chamber once again, with discussions surrounding domestic rates for the year ahead due to take place. It is believed that the borough could see a rates increase of around 10% for domestic properties depending the result of the special meeting.
The council's financial woes have been well documented in the last seven days. However, time is ticking and the rates debacle must be resolved before the legal deadline on Saturday.
Car parking in tourist hotspots is back on the agenda following a decision taken by the DUP to rescind a recent motion blocking the introduction of car parking charges. A month ago, members of the council's largest party blocked a proposal which would have generated £1million in revenue but look set to take a U-turn on their original decision. Te new initiative will look to increasing parking charges in areas of Coleraine as well as implementing parking tariffs in Portrush, Portstewart, Portballintrae, Ballintoy and Ballycastle.
In January, every party except the DUP backed a motion tabled by independent Councillor Padraig McShane who described the initiative as “a tax” on council “inefficiencies and inadequacies.” In a statement released on Monday, Cllr McShane says he will maintain his stance ahead of Wednesday evening's meeting.
The rates assembly comes just 24 hours after the monthly meeting of the council's Environmental Services committee which is set to discuss a crucial topic surrounding one of the Borough's most popular events.
The main topic on Tuesday evening's agenda is the review of Street Trading at Ballycastle's Lammas Fair which could be dealt a blow should council decide to increase pitch prices at the event in the future.
In a report which emerged recently, details suggest that trading licenses for the event could rise by over 40% in future. However, the Lammas Fair is just one of a number of events, including the North West 200 and the Airshow, that could feel the pinch in future as the council is currently exploring ways to become more efficient and reduce their debts.
You can read all the latest news on the council's debt crisis and potential cutbacks from pages 4-7.