Council could face rates boycott in 2014

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With Donegal County Council due to hold its budget meeting on Wednesday of this week, a group of local businesses has come together to demand a rates reduction,
Over 300 businesses across the county have signed up to the Donegal Business Rates Reduction Campaign, with the threat of a rates boycott looming.
County Manager Seamus Nealy is proposing to freeze rates and rents this year, but the Donegal Business Rates Reducton Campaign says that’s not enough.
Chairperson Charlie Ferry says the county’s businesses are paying too much, and a 25% reduction in rates would amount to just over 5 million euro, or less than 3% of the council’s budget.
He says the current rates burden is too high…….

Donegal North East Deputy Charlie Mc Conalogue is urging the government to adequately fund the council so it can pass on a rates reduction, claiming that high business premises vacancy rates in the county can be attributed to high rates.
He’s backing the campaign, saying that the group is proposing a number of worthwhile initiatives, including a small business relief scheme a new business rates holiday and growth incentives………..

Meanwhile, Minister Phil Hogan has announced a General Purpose grant of just under 54 million euro for Donegal County Council in 2014, 6.6 million up last year’s figure. However, with uncertainty over the funding cost implications of the transition to Irish Water, councillors say their budget discussions will be happening in a vacuum.