No rise in rates, property tax or parking costs in Cork city next year

Budget increases by 4.75% to €160m with focus on housing, roads and inclusion

Commercial rates, the local property tax and car parking costs will remain unchanged in the Cork City Council area next year. Image: Google Street View.

Commercial rates, the local property tax and car parking costs will remain unchanged in the Cork City Council area next year. Image: Google Street View.

 

Commercial rates, the local property tax and car parking costs will remain unchanged in the Cork City Council area next year despite a 4.75 per cent increase in the local authority’s budget to €160 million.

Councillors backed the package by 25 votes to three with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin all voting in favour of the spending plan.

Ann Doherty, the council’s chief executive, said the spending increase of €7.6 million was a consequence of greater economic activity in the city leading to a higher income from rates, higher rental incomes and additional departmental grants.

The council is to spend the additional funds on homelessness, social inclusion projects, roads and increased payroll. Some €46.57 million will be spent on housing next year, €26.7 million on roads, €32.5 million on environmental services and €22 million on recreation and amenity services.

She said the budget provided a “reasonable balance across the competing objectives of developing the social, cultural, economic, environmental and infrastructural needs of the city in a socially inclusive manner”.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (Fianna Fáil), welcomed the focus in the budget on increasing and improving social housing.

Rates incentive

Ms Doherty said the council’s rates incentive scheme would continue next year with compliant rate payers receiving a 3 per cent grant if they pay on time. This scheme is aimed at SMEs which make up 57 per cent of the city’s rates payers, she added.

Cork Chamber said the decision not to increase commercial rates or parking charges while retaining the property tax at base level were all positive moves.

Thomas Mc Hugh, director of policy at Cork Chamber, said the organisation had told the council earlier this year that increased rates and parking costs would make it more difficult for some business to keep operating in the city.

“The time has come for a full overhaul of local authority funding as it is neither equitable nor sustainable to over depend on businesses as the primary funders of local government, which unfortunately is the pattern reported by chambers across the country,” he added.