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£25 MILLION

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council is costing more to run than ever before, the Antrim Guardian can exclusively reveal.

With a payroll of around 25 million pounds for just one year - not including expenses - the promises of a ‘more efficient’ body after the merger of the former Antrim and Newtownabbey councils seem to have gone up in smoke.

Salaries make up the majority of the £25m outlay, but a generous £342,845 was also paid out in ‘expenses’, which is understood to include mileage.

In 2014/15, the final year of the ‘old’ councils, the former Antrim Borough Council payroll came in at just over £9.6 million, compared to £12.7 million for its Newtownabbey neighbours.

With expenses included, the full layout of both councils came to a combined total of £22.7 million.

Prior to amalgamation, ratepayers in both Council areas were assured that the new ‘Super Council’ was the future.

Promises were made of improved efficiency, and cost-saving strategies and while there would be redundancies, they vowed to stick to a ‘non-compulsory’ scheme.

But despite a £4.6 million spend on redundancies over the last five years, it seems that Local Government largesse - in south Antrim anyway - is worse than ever.

*Full story in this week’s Antrim Guardian

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