Bah Humbug budget for Council rates and rents

Businesses leaders have reacted with “disappointment but not surprise” at the news that commercial rates will not change in 2013.

Businesses leaders have reacted with “disappointment but not surprise” at the news that commercial rates will not change in 2013.

The news emerged yesterday, Monday, December 17, during Kildare County Council’s annual budget meeting.

According to Eilis Quinlan, the chair of North Kildare Chamber of Commerce, they had hoped for a 10% reduction in rates.

“The number of businesses they’re trying to collect from is reducing,” she said. “It’s not fair to put the burden on those who are left.”

However the Council plans to bring in an - as yet unspecified - rent increase for its 2,900 local authority tenants amidst calls for different levels of commercial rates and housing rents in the county.

Documents released during the meeting revealed that the commercial rate base continues to shrink as a result of large ratepayers not using their premises. This is possibly a reference to Intel’s Leixlip facility.

The base will be reduced by €3.2 million in 2013.

The top 15% of ratepayers provide 81% of the total rates income but the report said the bulk of the €3.2m is “temporary” as some big players are altering premises.

The 3,000 plus rate payers had a 2% reduction in 2011 and 72% of them pay less than €5,000 a year.

Overall the Council’s budget will  be €123 m in 2013, compared to €131m in 2012.

The report revealed that the Council expects to pay €4.16m in rent to 700 private landlords in 2012 and has budgeted an increase to €4.54m for 2013.

It expects to receive €4.75m in rent from tenants in 2012 and expects that to increase to €4.8m in 2013.

Councillors heard that in some towns pay parking is not paying for the costs of running the services and that it would have to do so.

Councillors questioned costs in some areas.

Cllr. Tony O’Donnell queried spending on signs on some small roads when there was no money for road repairs in some areas.

To save money, Cllr. Liam Doyle argued for the turning off of every second public light in urban areas to try and keep people safe.

- Henry Bauress and Conor McHugh