A 3% increase in the annual rate on valuation (ARV) for business owners throughout Cork county will be implemented as part of the 2022 budget for Cork County Council.
Following a debate where there was a lot of sympathy expressed for business owners gripped by the ongoing pandemic, councillors approved the 2022 budget of €372m, an increase of €24m on this year’s budget.
Thirty-five councillors voted for the budget, three voted against, while five abstained.
Budget 2022 will see a 3% increase in the ARV for the first time since 2008. A profile of Cork County Council’s rate base in September 2021 shows that the bulk of ratepayers represent small businesses, with 30% having rate bills of less than €1,000 per annum.
Under Budget 2022, those ratepayers would see their rates increase by €16.90 over the course of the year.
Mayor of Co Cork Gillian Coughlan said: “An increase in rates is never a decision that is taken lightly. This small increase is necessary in order to present a balanced budget that will secure continued service delivery, economic investment and support.
“A number of important funding initiatives are being fully retained, such as the general municipal allocation for our eight municipal districts, ensuring continued support is available for our county’s towns and villages.”
Ms Coughlan said further funding to drive tourism and town centre rejuvenation has been ringfenced. “Funding through the Economic Development Fund, which drives our tourism and strategic marketing initiatives as well as further town centre rejuvenation to address issues such as vacancy and dereliction, has been ringfenced. Further investment will also follow into our rural digital innovation hubs, which are essential to the resilience of towns.”
Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said: “The council had to reconfigure the budget to ensure there was no impact on service delivery for 2022. Sound financial management and prudence in previous years ensured the council built up reserves for purposes such as playground improvements, burial ground extensions, and ICT infrastructure.
“However, the expenditure provided for in Budget 2022 exceeds the projected income, leaving a gap that must be bridged. The modest rates increase has been designed to ensure a minimum impact on ratepayers while priortising continued service delivery and growth.”
Initiatives in Cork County Council’s 2022 budget include: Additional funding for the maintenance and improvement of local authority housing with provisions to refurbish in excess of 150 vacant properties; €1.2m for the Economic Development Fund and to address town regeneration issues; €8.2m for libraries; and a fund of €150,000 for the arts programme for creative towns and spaces.