Rates increase is likely to be the first in a pair of hikes with a second due next year
THE 2% increase in commercial rates looks likely to the first in pair of increases with another coming down the track in next year’s budget before a revaluation process begins in 2019.
Introducing the new budget, chief executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid said rate payers ‘need to be planning for another rate increase in next year’s budget’. Despite the 2% increase in the latest budget, he said that Fingal remained a ‘highly competitive local authority for commercial rates’, particularly when measured against comparable local authorities in Dublin like Dublin South and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.
The council’s finance director, Oliver Hunt said the rates rise would yield €2.5 million for the council but for more than half of rate payers, it would represent a rise of less than €100 in their annual rates contribution.
He said there had been no increase in the rate for eight years and the rate was decreased in 2009 and 2010.
Cllr Jimmy Guerin (NP) said he recognised the council had to find money from somewhere and he would not vote against the rate increase but he considered the rise a ‘bit of an unfair burden on small businesses throughout the county’ and ‘sends out the wrong signal’.
Cllr Brian Mcdonagh (Lab) however, sad that in the context of householders being asked to pay more in their Local Property Tax, it was ‘reasonable’ that rate payers be asked to contribute more as well.
Cllr Eoghan O’brien (FF) broadly agreed and said the rates rise was a ‘reasonable and measured’ one.
He said that the council would be ‘under the microscope’ in delivering improved services with both householders and businesses paying more for those services. Cllr Kieran Dennison (FG) said the council had to be ‘careful and sensitive’ when increasing commercial rates but he said a 2% rise was ‘modest’.
Ultimately, a large majority of councillors voted in favour of the rates increase.
Cllr Jimmy Guerin.