Councillor Peter 'Chap' Cleere
Local councillor Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere has hit out at the Valuation Office, under the aegis of Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, for ‘breaking promises’ that could leave Kilkenny County Council €1million out-of-pocket every year.
The Valuation Office is responsible for the valuation of commercial and industrial property in the State for the purposes of levying of commercial rates by local authorities.
In 2017, the rates for all Kilkenny commercial properties were reviewed by the Valuation Office.
Cleere asserts that promises made to councillors and local authority officials from the Valuation Office at the time about the future impact of the new valuations have been broken.
“In relation to the rates revaluation, we were told in County Hall by the Valuation Office officials that some properties would be seeing a reduction, some would be seeing an increase, but the net effect would be cost-neutral,” Cleere told elected members at yesterday’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council.
“197 businesses appealed the subsequent rate decision - something they’re absolutely entitled to do - and of the 186 appeals that have been completed so far, 75% have resulted in a reduction of that rate payment.
“This puts the income loss to-date to Kilkenny County Council at €836,000 per annum, with scope to rise further with future appeals.”
For Cleere, this is far from the cost-neutral outcome promised and could have huge implications on local authority funding going forward.
“We have been sold an absolute pup on this by the Valuation Office and I am insisting that we write to the Department immediately seeking exactly what we were promised,” he continued.
“Kilkenny County Council will be left with a deficit to the tune of €1million per annum because of this valuation system that we were promised was going to be cost-neutral.
“We have worked damn-hard in my time over the last seven years, over the last fifty years in previous councils, to ensure that the rates were fair in Kilkenny and that they enabled us invest in our communities, in our parks, in our libraries, in our footpaths...
“Where are we going to come up with that million euro?”
Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick formally seconded Cllr Cleere’s proposal to write to the Department and added to the remarks.
“To be looking at that type of deficit at this point of time as we prepare to go to Budget is incomprehensible,” he said.
“If this shortfall is not reimbursed and correspondence is not made urgently we could be looking at losing amenity grants, money in housing, community projects, the list goes on.”
The revaluation of commercial and industrial rates in Kilkenny by the Valuation Office is part of an ongoing national programme to ensure that the rateable valuation of all commercial and industrial property in Ireland reflects the contemporary business environment.
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