Council collects €53 million in commercial rates

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LIMERICK City and County County have collected 82 per cent of the commercial rates owed last year — an increase of five per cent year on year.

Head of Finance, Sean Coughlan confirmed this week that more than €53 million in rates were collected in 2017, its highest percentage since 2013. There was also a decrease in arrears last year of €4.29m – a drop of 23 per cent year on year.

Speaking at this month’s full meeting of Limerick City and County Council on Monday, Mr Coughlan also informed councillors that there was increase in commercial rates income year on year of €2.78m — equating to a 5.4 per cent increase.

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But councillors were quick to point out at the full monthly meeting of the local authority this Monday that “this didn’t happen by accident”. They acknowledged the benefits reaped through a number of schemes created to incentivise ratepayers of small to medium businesses locally.

Fianna Fail councillor James Collins claimed that we are now seeing is the fruit of decisions made in the past, decisions, which were not always popular, and often criticised.

“We are seeing the fruits of these schemes. The decisions we were criticised for have turned out to be the right decisions,” he declared.

Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin pointed out that other local authorities around the country are now following Limerick City and County Council’s rates “professional” model.

“The figures are very positive. Other local authorities are emulating us and using our schemes as a template. It also reflects what’s happening economically,” Cllr Leddin maintained.

Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville also felt schemes were “positive and having an impact” on SMEs.

Sinn Fein councillor Seamus Browne described the 82 per cent collection rate for 2017, which is on target to reach 85 per cent, as a “remarkable turnaround”.

“This is very positive. We must be the envy of all the other councils,” Labour Party councillor Elena Secas declared.

by Alan Jacques

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