RATES in Cookstown would reduce significantly if the Council did not have to pay £500,000 each year on lifting litter.
However the rates are to rise by 1.4%, lower than inflation.
This is one of the lowest rate rises in recent years and is set to come into force in April.
Praising council officials for working hard to keep the rate rise low, SDLP councillor James McGarvey said it was an ‘absolute and utter disgrace’ that the Council has to pay £1/2m to pick up litter.
Ulster Unionist councillor Sam Gamble said he was ‘ashamed’ of the litter problem.
Council chairman Sean Clarke said it was a credit to the officers of the council that the rate struck was kept to a limit but he added the cost of littering was ‘ridiculous’ and ‘disheartening’.
Chief Executive Adrian McCreesh said striking the rate was also creating a balance between austerity and economic investment.
In a joint statement from Cookstown District Council the four party leaders, Councillor Sean Clarke (Council Chairman), Councillor Ian McCrea MLA, Councillor Tony Quinn and Councillor Trevor Wilson said the Council was intent on continuing its ‘ongoing efficiency programme’ as well as investing in the infrastructure of town and villages to facilitate job creation and economic growth.