Rates in­crease is likely to be the first in a pair of hikes with a sec­ond due next year

Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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