Garff Rate for Year End 2025

Garff Commissioners rates will increase by 14% for the next financial year resulting in a rate of 191.5 pence in the pound for 2024/2025.

The decision for the above-inflation rate increase was only made after careful discussion and deliberation and, as set out below, the Authority’s general revenue reserves are not at a level for them to be drawn upon to mitigate rate increases while maintaining services.

It is the view of the Board that the rate rise for the forthcoming year will ensure that their duty to ensure the Authority maintains a robust fiscal position is fulfilled.

Key points the Board have taken into account in making their decision:

• Comparative Rates: Garff has the fifth largest population (being larger than Castletown, Port Erin, and Port St Mary in terms of number of residents). Despite the significance of the increase, it is worth noting that Garff’s rates are still markedly lower than the other ‘middle-sized’ local authorities.

• Commercial Rate Income: Garff’s demographic means that its income stream is not boosted by the level of commercial rate income which mitigates the financial situation of many other local authorities.

• Geographical Challenges: The Authority has the largest physical area to maintain, leading to significant maintenance costs for services such as road-side hedge-cutting, gully cleaning, and upkeep of extensive public areas between Ballure in the north and Groudle in the south.

• External Factors Increasing Expenditure: The Authority’s expenditure has been affected by external factors such as a 58% rise in external audit charges, substantially increased contributions to fund the operation of the Northern Swimming Pool facility, and several other above-inflation charges which have impacted on finances.

• Waste Management Charges: Escalating waste management charges, especially at Civic Amenity sites, have contributed to the increase. The Commissioners have had to make provision for higher than anticipated interest repayments relating to the purchase of the new Eastern CA Site. In addition, the charging structure at the Northern CA site is under review and the Board has felt it prudent to factor in contingency should further rises be imposed.

• Staff-Related Costs: Although Garff operates with a very low staff to resident ratio, increases in staff participation in the pension scheme and a review of operational staff remuneration has led to further above-inflation human resource expenses.

• Legal Representation: The Commissioners have been required to obtain legal representation to clarify the status of public facilities; this and the recent Boundary Review submitted to the Government by Ramsey Commissioners have caused additional impact on financial resources.

• Campsite Investments: Investments at the campsite are ongoing and the final phase of modernisation will take place in 2024. The campsite is becoming a very popular facility and continues to attract an increasing amount of visitors to Laxey and Garff. In addition, investments in facilities such as electrical hook-up units will provide additional income for many years into the future.

• Streetlighting Maintenance: The District’s ageing streetlighting stock requires additional investment this year to maintain the units and an additional amount of £4,000 has been included in the budget to permit essential maintenance works to take place. When replacements are made more efficient LED lighting units are being installed which will reduce electricity supply charges going forwards.

• Assistance to Treasury with Debt Recovery: The number of domestic rates debtors has increased significantly during Covid as Treasury sought to provide assistance to those in financial difficulty. The Board are now taking additional steps to assist Treasury in their efforts to recover debts from those householders in arrears.

 

Timetable for the Proposed Ramsey Town Boundary changes announced

The timetable for the public Inquiry into the request from Ramsey Commissioners for boundary changes has been published. The Inquiry will be held on the 22nd – 23rd and 24th of January in Ramsey Park Hotel, (Park Road, Ramsey, IM8 3AR). The start time each day is 10.00am.
The Inquiry is open and all Members of the Public are able to attend. The full timetable is attached in the image here.

Christmas & New Year Refuse Collection Changes

Christmas & New Year Refuse Collection Changes

Christmas & New Year Refuse Collections.
This Festive season, the only change to the Christmas/New Year Refuse Collection will be in Maughold (and the Ballaragh/Ballaragh Road area).
Any property where the bin is normally emptied on Monday will have their refuse collected two days earlier on the Saturday.
The collections that would otherwise fall on Christmas and New Year’s Days will take place on the preceeding Saturdays, that is Saturday 23rd December and Saturday 30th December.
If you live on the approaches to Maughold in Ballaragh, on Ballaragh Road or north of Laxey and your bin is normally emptied on a Monday morning your collection will also be on the preceeding Saturdays.
We would recommend placing your bin out on the previous Friday night as the collections begin in the early hours.
If you live in any other area of Garff your refuse collection will take place on the normal day.
Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa!
Garff Commissioners

 

DEFA Forestry – Update on Access Restrictions at Dhoon Glen

DEFA have advised the Commissioners in regard to the current access restrictions in Dhoon Glen.

They advise that, “After careful consideration, we have now committed resources to work on the closed section to make safe and re-open at the earliest opportunity. This will involve some tree felling and pruning, footpath improvements and work around the disused mine adjacent to the wheel casing.

The main prerequisite for opening the path to the public will be the tree work, which has been professionally assessed, and which requires the removal of trees on safety grounds. We are currently in the process of procuring a suitable contractor to undertake this work, which is no mean feat given the location of the trees, however, we are aiming to have this work completed during this coming winter season and before the end of March 2024, subject to contractor availability. The work will see the removal of 5-6 mature broadleaved specimens, and we will assess the immediate area for replanting or promotion of existing natural regeneration if feasible.

It is hoped that once the tree works are completed, and subject to a site assessment, that the path can be re-opened. However, it is the Departments’ aim to improve the access through this area by improving drainage and the footpath surface, this may require post opening temporary restrictions to allow these works to be competed safely. Work has already been undertaken by the DOI on the boundary PROW to improve drainage (predominantly ground water from the fields above) which will help improve access along this path and the improved drainage will help to alleviate some of the concerns raised over long term ground stability within the Glen.

As the Glen is registered as an ASSI, we have consulted with the Department’s biodiversity officers on the proposals and will seek formal approvals from the Eco-Policy team for undertaking the prescribed works.”

 

The announcement is very much welcomed by the Commissioners who had expressed concern to the Department about the closure.

 

Update on Cardboard Recycling: 31.08.23

The Commissioners have contacted the service provider who has advised that they have withdrawn the service due to the receptacles being contaminated with other materials such as general refuse waste and other objects.
The provider wishes to emphasise that they were providing a free of charge service but feel that they cannot continue to incur the cost of having to separate and pay for disposal of the other materials.
Contamination has been an ongoing issue and, because of this, the company has indicated several times over the years that they were considering withdrawal of the service to Glen Road.
The Commissioners last discussed the situation at their February 2023 meeting following contact from the provider early in the year; although the free service did continue for a further seven months thereafter. Unfortunately, the provider advises that the level of contamination has not reduced in this time despite placing of signage on the receptacles.
The provider has indicated today that they would discuss re-instating the service if they could be assured that the public would not contaminate the receptacles with waste other than cardboard.
The company also advises that the cardboard that is collected is all 100% recycled and is not burned at the EfW Incinerator.
Due to the popularity of the service it is likely that the Commissioners will consider the situation at their meeting next week (6th September).