Disagreement on 'start-up' rates
FINE GAEL councillor Jim Allen is not taking no for an answer on the issue of rates discounts for start-up businesses.
His suggestion for a rates scheme, offering a 100%, 50% and 25% drop in rates over three years to new retail outlets in vacant premises, was given a cool reception at a Council meeting.
Acting County Manager Adrian Doyle foresaw problems with it.
Mr. Doyle said it could give rise to a situation where you had an existing shop paying full rates while a similar start-up outlet next door was getting a discount.
He said the approach taken by the Council was to instead introduce a 6% discount scheme for all small businesses.
'There has been a substantial take-up of that,' he told councillors. 'The scheme you're talking about would be difficult to implement. On the face of it, it's a good idea but when you drill down through it, there are difficulties, one of them being that it's unfair to existing business.'
Cllr. Allen said a similar incentive, the 'Vacant Shops Scheme', was introduced in Waterford last year. 'This would encourage new business to come into town. You constantly hear people talking about empty retail units,' he said.