BUSINESSES in north county Dublin will feel the squeeze in 2018 as they face the first hike in commercial rates in almost a decade.
Fingal County Council agreed what it described as a “progressive” €227 million budget on Tuesday – with spending on housing and homelessness up by 11%, to €61 million.
The 2% rise in commercial rates follows a decision in September not to avail of the full 15% reduction in the Local Property Tax (LPT) – effectively hiking the LPT by 5%.
The rates rise is the first since 2009 and will bring an additional €2.5 million to the local authority, while the extra €1.9 million LPT revenue will be used to fund library services, community events and the arts.
In total, the council plans to spend €227,268,000 next year – €767 for every man, woman and child living in Fingal.
The budget targets investment in five key areas – housing, economic development, services, community initiatives and tourism.
Councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the draft budget (30 for, 4 against) after officials revealed Fingal has the highest compliance of rate payment in Ireland, at 96%, and the lowest rate among the four Dublin local authorities.
A total of €42.7m will be spent on Environment, with €42.5m for Recreation and Amenity. Water Services will receive €20.7m, while €21.1m has been set aside for Development Incentives and Controls.
Council chief executive Paul Reid said: “This is one of the most progressive budgets adopted by any Irish local authority.
“It allows the council to continue to meet the growing demands of having to cater for a county that has the fastest-growing and youngest population in the country, as well as a rapidly growing local economy.
“The extra funding from the LPT and commercial rates has allowed us to increase our spending by more than 5%, and invest more into key areas of our overall strategy.”