A South East Clare Councillor says a county-wide commercial rates rise for 2023 could tip some small businesses ‘over the edge’.
Elected representatives have raised concerns about the Council’s ability to manage rising costs in energy, construction and other areas ahead of signing off on the local authority’s annual budget next week.
2022 saw a commercial rates increase in Clare for the first time in 13 years, when fees were put up by 3.8 percent.
Next Friday will see Councillors vote on 2023’s Budget, with this year having seen an outbreak of the biggest inflation and cost-of-living crisis for a generation.
It’s understood the majority of Councillors are, at this point, against rising commercial rates in an attempt to balance the books.
However, Council CEO Pat Dowling told members earlier this week that ‘budgetary provision’ would have to be made for matched funding for key projects such as the Holy Island Visitor Centre and the Kilrush Maritime Training Centre.
The Government has provided extra funding, understood to be in the region of two million euro, to Clare County Council for next year to help combat rising costs.
However, Ennis-based Fine Gael Councillor Mary Howard says more money from the Government coffers may be needed for the local authority.
While any rates increase may be a difficult sell politically, there are fears being expressed that services may have to be cut back across the Council if a way to manage increased costs isn’t found.
Cratloe-based Fianna Fail Councillor Pat O’ Gorman says while he feels multinationals are already paying their fair share here, difficult decisions are going to have to be made.
Councillors will gather in Áras Contae an Chláir on Friday, November 25th to debate and vote on the Council’s 2023 Budget.