Longford County Council would face a €9.3m black hole if commercial rates were abolished from its revenue stream.
That was the gloomy scenario which was spelled out to local politicians this week as councillors discussed the long term future of Longford's local economy post Covid-19.
Head of Finance John McKeon warned of the potential ramifications facing the local authority if rates were suddenly erased from the council's revenue streams.
"If Longford County Council were to abolish rates it would be a hit of €9.3m which makes up 20 per cent of entire funding and that’s essential for our local services and our discretionary element of funding," he said.
Mr McKeon's comments came on foot of a motion tabled by Independent Cllr Turlough 'Pott' McGovern to remove rates for hard pressed retailers and small firms for the remainder of 2020.
Fine Gael's Peggy Nolan asked for a dedicated member of staff from the council's economic directorate to be assigned to deal with struggling businesses on a one to one basis.
"It would be a hand holding exercise because there are a lot of businesses not very au fait with technology," she said, adding she had to be dragged into the technical age "kicking and screaming".
"Every single business out there is on their knees and there is no business out there that is very confident. It’s only when you see the amount of businesses we have that you realise they have to be supported, protected and for them to be given special treatment at the minute."
For more, see next week's Longford Leader.
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