Commercial rates will not be increased in the upcoming Galway City Council 2013 Budget.
The Galway Independent can reveal that, despite mounting financial pressure on the local authority, the draft budget by city officials will not propose an increase in the current commercial rate for businesses in the city.
The decision comes in the wake of confirmation that just €24 million of an estimated €50 million in rates has been collected to date by the council.
The completed draft budget will be published by Galway City Council on Friday 30 November and will be considered by councillors before amendments are made and finalised on Monday 10 December.
Cllr Padraig Conneely welcomed the news, saying Galway City has one of the lowest rates in one of the largest urban areas in the country.
“For 2013, the council will make a provision for unrecoverable rates of €7.5 million in respect of vacant premises, companies in liquidation and receivership and businesses in financial difficulty,” he said.
“Despite the good year in Galway City during the summer season, there was no bounce in rate collection, with less than half of outstanding rates being collected up to the end of October. Rate collection is vital for the city to maintain services.”
The move was also backed by Galway City Mayor Terry O’Flaherty, who said that protecting road maintenance, water services, the current waste waiver and arts funding would be her priority for this year’s difficult budget.
“This will be the third year that we will not be increasing the commercial rate and it looks like there won’t be any increase for the foreseeable future. We couldn’t increase it because businesses are already stretched to the max. I don’t think it would go down too well if we raised the charges for businesses that are already keeping the city running,” she said.
A spokesperson for Galway City Council refused to confirm the details of the draft budget but said that the measures were a “work in progress