DLR council proposes support grant for small businesses

Management say proposal would amount to 2.5 per cent rate reduction for SMEs

Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council says a new proposal would reduce rates bills for small businesses by 2.5 per cent. Photograph: Eric Luke

Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council says a new proposal would reduce rates bills for small businesses by 2.5 per cent. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Councillors in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown are to vote Tuesday on a proposal which management says will lead to a 2.5 per cent reduction in commercial rates for small businesses.

The council’s chief executive Philomena Poole said a support grant has been introduced to alleviate some of the pressure on small and medium enterprises next year.

The county’s draft budget for the year to December 31st, 2017, provides for expenditure totalling €171.7 million compared with €166.6 million in 2016.

“Some of the additional expenditure was matched with corresponding grant and other income but there was still a considerable excess of expenditure over income,” she writes in her report on the draft budget.

“This posed a significant challenge in preparing and balancing the 2017 draft budget. As in previous years the primary objective when preparing the budget was to maintain service levels throughout the council.

“All available options were examined and ultimately a decision was taken to both reduce the vacant property refund rate to 50 per cent and increase the annual rate on valuation by 1.5 per cent to achieve a balanced budget while maintaining and in some areas increasing service levels.”

Ms Poole said the support grant would be equivalent to 4 per cent of the rates bill for small businesses and, thus, would more than offset the proposed increase. She said the grant will benefit 72 per cent of businesses located in the county, or about 3,800 in total, who have rates bills of less than €10,000.

If taken in tandem with their rates it would be equivalent in value to a 2.5 per cent reduction, Ms Poole said.

“In addition numerous other pro-business initiatives have been retained including grants for footfall initiatives, business supports, shopfront and vacant properties.”