The council has outlined an ambitious budget for 2018

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.”