Cllr Maurice Shortall.
There remains concern in local businesses across Kilkenny following the revaluation of commercial rates, which are due to come into effect next year.
For those who received their proposed valuation notices on May 11, the period to make representations to the Valuations Office is now over. Final Valuation Certificates will be issued in September, and will take effect from January 2018.
North Kilkenny councillor Maurice Shortall has warned that the 'huge spike' in rates - in some cases an increase of 300% - will lead to inevitable closures, and will be a further blow to rural communities and towns.
“At a recent workshop in Castlecomer, personnel from the National Valuations Office who carried out the review were inundated with queries from worried business people," Cllr Shortall told the Kilkenny People.
"The big fear locally is that it will be a factor - and I accept there are others - in some businesses putting up the shutters, and a kick in the teeth for rural regeneration. Why is there so much variance in how the yearly rental income was calculated? For example, did it take into account the footfall differentiation between the likes of Kilkenny City, schedule town Castlecomer, town of Ballyragget or village of Lisdowney?
"A much fairer of method of calculation would surely be on turnover particularly in those one-person business premises. With retail prices static in some cases for over eight years its extremely hard to justify those sharp huge increases."
Cllr Shortall has said it is now a 'waiting game for those 'dreaded 2018 bills', which can be appealed.
The Valuation Office website, www.valoff.ie, sets out detailed information about the revaluation and the representations process. The Valuation Office also has a dedicated Customer Support Team to deal with revaluation queries who can be contacted by by Email to ckReval2017@valoff.ie or by phone at 01 8171199 between 9:30am and 5:30pm from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.