Home » News » Town manager questions if rates system is ‘fit for purpose’

Town manager questions if rates system is ‘fit for purpose’

IT is questionable if the existing rates system is fit for purpose, Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan stated this week.

IT is questionable if the existing rates system is fit for purpose, Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan stated this week.
After members discussed the impact of rates on small business Mr Coughlan said, “The rates system came in during the 1850s and I would question if it is fit for purpose. I would question if it has been fit for purpose for the last 30 years,” he said.
Councillor Joe Cooney put forward a motion asking that the council “call on the valuation office to review rates to protect small businesses and save jobs in these tough economic times”.
In a written reply, Noeleen Fitzgerald, acting head of finance with the council, stated that although the valuation office have plans for an overhaul, it may be some time before it results in any changes in Clare.
“The Valuation Act 2001 provided for a national re-valuation on a rolling basis. The implications of the revaluation process are a neutral impact on the rates income of local authorities. To date this revaluation has been completed in three local authorities and has commenced in Dublin City Council area, with preparatory work commenced in three other authorities.
“In correspondence with the Valuation office, the Commissioner expressed confidence that the national revaluation programme can be delivered in a ten year period. To date, Clare County Council has not received any indication of proposed implementation here.”
Councillor Cooney said the issue is an important one. “We are all well aware that small businesses are trying to survive at the moment,” he commented.
Councillor Michael Begley said the matter might be best at national level, as waiting for any move from the Valuation Office is likely to take too long. Independent PJ Ryan says he knows of a business that occupies a building 40,000 square feet in size, and pays rates based on that, even though the area it uses is only 5,000 square feet.
Waiting for the Valuation Office will take far too long, Councillor Gerry Flynn claimed. He said rates are based on Celtic Tiger era conditions and as such are “totally out of step”.
Commenting, Ms Fitzgerald said the issues under discussion have frequently been brought up at budget time in recent years. She said things like the introduction of domestic water rates might give some scope.
County manager Tom Coughlan said rates could only be reduced in the context of additional income coming from another quarter for the local authority.

 

About News Editor

Check Also

Mental health awareness cycle set for mini tour of Clare

THE brakes were pulled on the annual When In Doubt, Pedal It Out mental health …