Rate changes given cautious thumbs up

Seamus Butler.

Seamus Butler.

Plans by local authority chiefs to bring Longford town’s rate collection charges in line with those at county level has been given a cautious thumbs up by local firms.

County Council bosses want to standardise commercial fees handed down to businesses throughout Longford as it prepares to take over the managership of rate collection across the county.

Those changes are not expected to be felt until June at the earliest when Longford Town Council shuts its doors for the last time.

For some, like educational and stationery supplier Farrell Coy, the proposed adjustment is being viewed with more than a shade of hesitancy.

“My view would be it doesn’t really matter who collects it (rates), any sort of a reduction can help create employment or keep a business going,” said Bernie Farrell.

In business for the past eight years, Farrell Coy’s annual rates bill currently stands at €4,000, an outlay many similarly sized businesses are facing going into 2014.

“We have very loyal customers so we have been lucky in that respect. And we do our best to provide a good service by keeping prices as reasonable as possible.”

The mere mention of the word ‘rates’, you can bet, brings a shuddering jolt to most pressurised business owners and entrepreneurs.

For many months, and in some cases years, business leaders have been calling for changes to legislation that dates back as far as the 19th Century.

One of those who has been leading the charge for reform, Chamber of Commerce President Seamus Butler, believes many other facets of the local government rates system also need to be looked at.

“The problem is many of the people in government have no experience of running a company,” he told Leader Business this week.

“They are planning to revalue all the properties in the country which could take 20 years. How ridiculous is that?”




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