KILRUSH town councillor Tom Prendeville has predicted “Armageddon” for business in the town if rates are increased by up to 16.5% from January 1, 2015.
Currently Kilrush has the lowest rates in Clare but with the abolishment of town councils likely to go ahead next year, business rates across Clare will almost definitely be harmonised.
“What you will find is that more businesses will go to the wall. The result of that will be that rates will probably increase pro rata. Those that survive will have to pay more money to survive. It’s an Armageddon state of affairs for anybody in business in Kilrush if this harmonisation is going to occur, which it will do from January 2015,” he claimed.
“The annual rate of valuation in Kilrush at the moment is €61.93 per square foot. That is sometimes refereed to as the general rate. Clare County Council has a rate of €72.99. So if there is harmonisation of the rates post the local elections, from January 1, 2015, Kilrush will be the town that will be hit hardest. Kilrush has the lowest rate in the county at the moment but will face a 16.5% increase in rates,” the Cappa based town councillor predicted.
“Add in property taxes, water charges and a lot of businesses will just fall over the edge. Those of us who are in business are very aware that net disposable income has plummeted. The only viable businesses that are holding their own are food outlets. All that most people are doing at the moment is threading water. There is a very, very bleak outlook for businesses. They are very hard pressed at the moment,” he pointed out.
Councillor Prendeville believes that a significant increase in rates will adversely affect business in the west Clare capital.
“The big problem is that there are a lot of vacant premises in Kilrush, on the main commercial thoroughfares. We’re trying to bring forward some sort of an incentive scheme where there would be rates remission for new businesses opening up. Of course that wouldn’t be fair on existing businesses. It gives an unfair advantage to a new business,” Councillor Prendeville noted.
He believes that business people in Kilrush are not yet aware that rates are almost certain to rise once Kilrush Town Council ceases as an elected body in May 2014.
“An awful lot of the business fraternity in Kilrush are not aware of the implications of the town council being abolished and how significant it is to have somebody at the table post the local elections in 2014 who will put their case forward for some sort of concessions,” he commented.