Ennis Chamber is calling on the Clare County Councillors who voted in favour of the first phase of an 11% increase in Commercial Rates over 2 years in Ennis as part of the Annual Budget to explain why they wish to place such a burden on local businesses. The business member representative organisation is giving the opportunity to the councillors to give their reasons to the business community ahead of the planned Day of Action in association with Ennis development Forum on Monday the 14th of December.
President of Ennis Chamber Pat Morris said “Our members are angry and are looking for explanations. The business community funded 57% of Ennis Town Council’s budget in 2014 through Commercial Rates. This is in addition to paying annual fees for other services which previously had been included such as water rates and bin charges. Also when a business looks to redevelop or expand they must pay development contributions, change of use and parking spaces contributions. It is time to call a halt to the reliance on the business community.”
There are currently Commercial Rates arrears of €21 million in Clare County Council, therefore none of these businesses will be in a position to avail of the proposed Rates Grant Incentive Scheme contained in the Annual Budget despite being currently in payment plans with the local authority. In addition any business paying over €5,000 in Commercial Rates will also not be in a position to avail of the grant. Ennis Chamber makes the point that just because a business is paying higher Commercial Rates does not mean they are in a better position financially as the valuation is based on square footage and type of business rather than ability to pay. Furthermore, even if a business does avail of the Rates Incentive Grants Scheme, they must first pay all of the increase, which is 5.75% for 2016, on top of their existing rates so as to be entitled to a credit towards their rates in 2017, which are envisaged to increase by a further 5.25% in 2017.
Ennis Chamber and Ennis Development Forum are calling on businesses in Ennis and Kilrush along with their staff accompanied by family and friends to attend the next meeting of Clare County Council on Tuesday the 14th of December at Aras an Contae, New Road, Ennis at 3.30pm to show that businesses are unhappy with this decision and are seeking a resolution.