Council can’t meet ISME demands for rates reduction

LEITRIM County Council has acknowledged that it cannot meet the 20 percent cut in commercial, water, waste disposal and planning charges the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) demanded earlier this week.

LEITRIM County Council has acknowledged that it cannot meet the 20 percent cut in commercial, water, waste disposal and planning charges the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) demanded earlier this week.

By Leonie McKiernan

In a statement issued over the weekend, Mark Fielding, ISME Chief Executive said that commercial rates were strangling local businesses and he demanded a total reform of local authority changes to “reduce the overwhelming burden of rates on the business sector”.

“Business is the only sector of society that is compelled to pay commercial rates, essentially a local business tax, which penalises enterprise and suppresses local job creation,” he said, adding that firms are also forking out for water, waste disposal, planning charges and parking.

ISME wants an assessment of rates on agricultural business, government, local authority, church buildings and unregistered B&B’s so that they can also share the burden of local authority funding.

It also called on local authorities to reduce their revenue needs through realistic budgeting and more efficiency and demanded a 20 percent cut on all charges for the coming year.

However, in a short statement issued to the Leitrim Observer, Leitrim County Council pointed out that such a cut was simply not viable.

“In December 2010 the Members of Leitrim County Council approved a budget spend of w39.679m. A total of 13.84% or w5.490m is funded by commercial rates, water, waste water and planning. To implement a cut of 20% in these sources of income would reduce income by w1.098m. Currently there are no alternatives available to the Local authority to make up this shortfall,” noted the Local Authority.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.