City council backing for historic commercial rate

Diarmuid Scully 63CITY councillors unanimously accepted Limerick City and County Manager Conn Murray’s 2014 budget, adopting the biggest reduction in local authority rates in the history of the State.

Sending out the clear signal that Limerick is open for business, the landmark 15.8 per cent reduction in the city’s commercial rates was approved at City Hall this week. This now brings about a single Annual Rate of Valuation (ARV) in Limerick, ahead of Limerick City and County Councils merger following next May’s local elections.

Mr Murray described the rate reduction as “a springboard for the future” and said that Limerick now needs to prepare for its “next journey”.

The 2014 budget provides for expenditure of just over €78 million, a reduction of almost  €1.6m on 2013. However, the adoption of the reduced commercial rate was made possible by extra funding of €3.5 million from the Department of the Environment.

Fine Gael Councillor Diarmuid Scully described the 2014 budget as a “tremendous achievement”. Speaking at City Council’s last ever statutory budget meeting he said, “we might never pass another one, but we’ve never passed a better one”.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“This is the lowest rate in the country in living memory. Limerick has become the most attractive city in Ireland to locate a business with the lowest commercial rates, the lowest rents and the lowest parking charges,” he said.

Cllr Pat Kennedy (Ind) described the reduction in commercial rates as a “historic situation” and expressed 100 per cent confidence in the City and County Manager.

“Limerick is the greatest city on these islands and this is a clear endorsement,” said Cllr Kennedy.

Cllr Joe Leddin (Labour) said Limerick was “very fortunate” to have a manager of Mr Murray’s “skills and leadership”.

“By reducing the rate we are creating a catalyst. This is a fitting tribute to our last statutory budget meeting. It marks a turnaround and milestone and I would like to commend the Manager,” said Cllr Leddin.

Cllr Gerry McLoughlin (Ind) told the City Manager that “we’re all behind you 100 per cent” while Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon  (FF) believed it was “the easiest budget” City Council ever had to pass.

Cllr John Gilligan (Ind)  described the reduced rate as a “milestone”, however, he said he would not be breaking out the champagne just yet.

“This is not the AGM of Chamber of Commerce. You didn’t wake up this morning in Shangri-La. All we’re short is the Chamber of Commerce down the back of the hall singing ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’.

“People are hurting out there. I spoke to a woman this week who told me if she paid €70 for a doctor’s visit, then she wouldn’t be able to feed her kids,” he said.