Longford's rural shops feeling full extent of revaluations crisis

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford town

Thousands of businesses learned last month of their likely 2018 rates bills following a review carried out by the Valuations Office.

The recent furore surrounding commercial rates revaluations is threatening to reignite, this time among a growing cohort of rural shopkeepers.

Thousands of businesses learned last month of their likely 2018 rates bills following a review carried out by the Valuations Office.
It followed a lengthy and hotly divisive debate which sparked much unrest among local businesses, some of whom claimed they were bracing themselves for rises of between 100 and 400 per cent.
A little over a month on from the newly imposed revaluations, it has emerged many out of town firms are already feeling the pinch.
“Rural country shops have got their valuations and we did think they would be graded slightly differently,” said Cllr John Duffy at last week’s county council meeting.
The Dromard based representative told of how he had fielded a number of calls from worried business owners in the north of the county as to the looming changes.
“One business I know of has gone from €1900 to €2900 (per annum),” he said, describing the hike as “absolutely crazy”.
Cllr Duffy said the situation was one which would not go away and asked if anything could be done to grade provincial enterprises different to those in urban centres.
His party colleague, Cllr John Browne said while he was cognisant of the dilemmas hard pressed ratepayers were facing, there were mechanisms in which to challenge newly ratified rates estimates.
“Of the 1400 valuations made (in Co Longford) only 207 people made representations and out of that number the vast majority were amended,” he said.
Cllr Browne continued, stating it was “regrettable” many businesses had missed the deadline in which to appeal and were now forced to go down a more costly tribunal process.
Head of Finance John McKeon said 60 per cent of business premises countywide had in fact experienced a rate decrease following revaluations that had been carried out.
Filling stations and recently expanded businesses were among the 35 per cent to receive rate increases with the remaining five per cent seeing their charges stay intact.

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http://www.longfordleader.ie/news/home/269928/longford-firms-braced-for-new-commercial-rates-valuations.html