Council to explain rates to business

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Business people will have a chance to find out first hand about Laois County Council’s policy on commercial rates and the money raised is spent at a meeting in Portlaoise next month.

Business people will have a chance to find out first hand about Laois County Council’s policy on commercial rates and the money raised is spent at a meeting in Portlaoise next month.

A senior official in county hall is set to meet with Laois Chamber of Commerce members on Thursday, September 12 from 6.30pm. It is hoped the meeting will give business people an insight into how rates are calculated and billed and how the money is spent and arrears.

Conal Bradley, Laois Chamber President said business people want information about rates. He arrears are a problem but in many circumstances the council is not going down the legal route to recoup debts. As for a reduction in rates Mr Bradley said incentives are needed but he was aware of the council’s.

“I believe bodies like Downtown Portlaoise are looking for incentives for new business or vacant properties to stop the decline of Main St businesses. They are quite confident the council may come out with something but I know that council’s funding is under pressure and it is not is a position to reduce the rates,” he said.

Mr Bradley said business feel they pay too much

“There is a feeling among small businesses on Main St where rents have reduced but rates are fixed and substantial. There are plenty of ideas that rates shouldn’t be based on location but on rents paid but these would be difficult to implement,” he said.

Mr Bradley said businesses do not see the value returned from the rates compared to what is paid out.