The Clare Courier ¦ News ¦ 50% rates cut needed say business owners
The new property tax is supposed to make up for the shortfall which is going to occur when the national government stops paying money to councils. The potential however is that property taxes could quite easily pay the entire council bill, therefore making rates redundant. That being said there is not a single council out there that is currently willing to talk about rate reduction, much less their total removal.Small indigenous businesses in Shannon are calling on Clare County Council to reduce commercial rates by at least 50% in the December budget. Up to sixty local business owners and representatives of community organisations vented their frustration about the rates at a meeting in the Oakwood Arms Hotel organised by Darragh O’Connor and Maurice Lynch.
Overall the meeting painted a negative picture of relations between council officials and local business owners. Claims were made of excessive rates demands and unnecessary comments made to struggling business owners. At one point when asked for a show of hands if anyone had been told by a council official, “If you can’t pay your rates, you should close”, eight people raised their hands.
In calling for fairer rates, Mr O’Connor accused the local authority of wasting considerable sums of money. “If we ran our businesses the way the council is run we wouldn’t have a business,” he said.
Rates for businesses in Clare right now exceed even rent. Add to that a new tax that will make business owners pay a few thousand more in taxes on their home and business and it will mean even more businesses will be closing.
Anyone else have any opinions on this? Think the council is killing itself by refusing to drop the rates that were set during the boom years?