Bad news for businesses as rates are rising by 3% in DCC budget

by Rachel Darcy

Rates for businesses in Dublin city are to increase by up to 3%, following a vote on the annual Dublin City Council (DCC) budget on Monday night.

Monday’s meeting saw difficult choices made by the council, with many councillors voicing their apologies for some of the decisions made, in what has been deemed one of the hardest budgets for the local authority in recent years.

The budget was passed with 35 votes for, and 25 against.

Councillors voted to approve the annual budget on Monday, after the meeting was deferred from the previous week.

A vote for the budget means that rates will increase by 3%, which is expected to bring in an additional €4 million in revenue for the council.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, said prior to the meeting that the additional rates presented an “unfair increase” to businesses, but the budget was widely regarded as “necessary” in its additional charges.

Areas including rates, parking charges and more all saw an increase in the budget in an effort to make up a shortfall in funding following a decision from the Government to distribute rates on Irish Water properties on a “population apportionment basis”.

Some local authorities in other parts of the country benefited from this redistribution, while others – including DCC – have seen major losses to their finances.

It is estimated that DCC lost up to €8.4 million from this decision, which councillors say put them in an “impossible position” when voting on the 2020 budget.

Dublin Chamber have called on councillors to reverse a decision made during the summer to retain a 15% local property tax (LPT), as opposed to increasing commercial rents.

The chamber’s chief executive, Mary Rose Burke, said: “The current funding issues are proof that the decision to retain the 15% LPT reduction was the wrong call.

“It was a political decision aimed at appeasing voters, but one which failed to recognise the need for Dublin to be adequately funded.

“The idea that businesses would be left to pick up the bill, when councillors have many other fund-raising levers available to them, is hugely disrespectful to the thousands of rate-paying businesses in the city.

“Councillors should be looking at policies which will allow these companies to maintain and create jobs in the city – but any increase in commercial rates runs the real risk of jobs being lost.”

Parking charges will rise by 10% from June onwards, while the price of using the East Link toll is to go up by 36% as well.

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