Heated debate on rates increase before Cork county councillors approve budget for 2023

Fine Gael councillor John Paul O’Shea said the commercial rate increase was a ‘wrong’ decision.
Heated debate on rates increase before Cork county councillors approve budget for 2023

Chief executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey said Budget 23 is a ‘sophisticated’ budget. 

CORK County Councillors have voted to approve next year’s budget, which will see an increase in the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) for commercial rates of 3.5%.

Budget 2023 was approved by a margin of 14 votes following a lengthy full council meeting on Monday. 32 councillors voted for the motion and 18 councillors voted against following a debate which saw several sharp exchanges traded across the council chambers.

All 18 Fine Gael councillors voted against the proposed budget with their council leader John Paul O’Shea saying the commercial rate increase was a ‘wrong’ decision. 

His colleague Cllr Jack White said: 

“A rate increase is completely the wrong optic, and it will be the difference between keeping jobs and losing them.” 

Following much debate councillors agreed on the increase in the ARV, for those paying above a threshold of €7,000. The council initially proposed a threshold of €2,000 for business owners.

Cork County Council’s Draft Budget for 2023 amounts to a record €403 million, an increase of €31 million for the current financial year. Amongst the priorities identified for the operational budget are an investment in front-line services across the Council’s eight Municipal Districts, delivery of social and community services together with maintenance of existing service levels. 

Other key objectives are supporting economic development, protection of Climate Action funding, provision of infrastructure provision through correlation with the Capital Programme funding needs and continued delivery of roads and housing priorities.

Chief executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey said Budget 23 is a ‘sophisticated’ budget. 

“We believe that the modest increase of 3.5% will enable us to increase our budgetary spending and return that investment to communities and businesses within the same calendar year," he said. 

"Given the inflationary cycle, this marks an effective reduction in rates income. Cork County Council is not immune to inflationary pressures, and we have seen an increase in our cost base as we try to deliver services across the entire community."

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins welcomed the increased spending in communities throughout the county. 

“This budget shows Cork County Council’s commitment to our communities. We believe the right balance has been struck to ensure continued growth while protecting vital public services.” 

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