Cathaoirleach of Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District, Cllr Finola Armstrong-McGuire said business costs have escalated and for small businesses in towns to survive, they need a reduction in their rates.
At the February meeting of the municipal district, Cllr Armstrong-McGuire tabled a motion that stated, “Recent valuations of business properties have been done as an overall exercise of our county. I would ask that this local authority look carefully for additional means of raising monies for revenue," she said.
“Businesses costs have escalated in all areas and acknowledgement must be given to small town businesses in reducing costs such as rates.
“Small businesses fund communities beyond measure. If our small towns are without businesses, community life will suffer.”
A reply by the Head of Finance stated, “The revaluation process, administered by the Valuations Office, provides a forty day window for rate payers to make written representations to address concerns surrounding the indicative valuations proposed.
“Leitrim County Council would urge all rate payers who have a concern to make appropriate written representations within the timeframe allowed.
“The effective collection of commercial rates is critical to the financial management and control of local government generally, within the current funding model.”
The Cathaoirleach said she very much feared for the future of towns and villages
She said the whole idea of rates as a funding source had to be changed.
Cllr Armstrong-McGuire said there are shops in Carrick-on-Shannon such as Trinity Rare Books and Jewel, specialised shops, that shouldn't be treated as if they are chain stores.
“We need to look at other sources of funding other than rates. Small town shops haven't the strength to carry this. Every business needs to be given help to keep their doors open,” she said, adding that they need “good free parking in the town.”
Cllr Seadhna Logan said in his area a lot of businesses saw reductions in their rates and he didn't think people were as badly hit as they initially thought.
Cllr Sean McGowan said he knows of a business whose rates have gone up by 100%.
Joseph Gilhooley, Director of Service, said the valuations are not the responsibility of Leitrim County Council and reminded businesses of the 40 day window for observations from the date of issue.