Proposed new property valuations on which rates will be based for the coming year will be sent out on March 16th to ratepayers in Sligo town and county.
But in an effort to avoid the shock that ratepayers in other counties received, the Valuation Office is urging ratepayers not to confuse the revaluation figure in the notice with that for actual rates that might be payable.
In a presentation to Sligo County Councillors yesterday, a representative of the Valuation Office says the figure ratepayers will receive later this month is for the value of their property; it’s not the amount of rates they will be liable for.
Declan Lavelle, head of valuation services with the Valuation Office, told councillors they are replacing the old valuations with a modern rental value as the present rateable valuations do not reflect the market conditions that now prevail.
The revaluation does not affect the total amount the county council will collect.
Mr Lavelle says that for every ratepayer who experiences a euro increase in rates, there will be a corresponding decrease for another ratepayer.
Mr Lavelle points out that the Valuation Office does not decide what people pay in rates.
He says the revaluation is an ongoing process; it started in Sligo in September 2015 and will be completed this September.
And he says there may be information about properties or businesses that the Valuation Office does not have.
Ratepayers will have 40 days to make representations about their revaluations.
Giving details of how valuations are actually decided, he says data such as business turnover, output and fees charged are taken into account.
The Valuation Office also gets information from the Revenue such as when a property is sold or when a new lease is entered into.
Sales and lease prices in an area can also be compared using the Property Services Regulatory web site.
Where valuations were once about location, he says it’s now all about data.
As for fears about rates increases, Mr Lavelle says it has been found that under the new system, about 60% of ratepayers experience a reduction in rates liability and about 40% have an increase.
However, he emphasises that when ratepayers get their new valuations, it is NOT their rates liability. Their rates liability will probably be about a quarter of the revaluation figure, he says.
He’s urging ratepayers to check the information on the valuation notice to ensure its accurate.
April 24th is the closing date for representations and Mr Lavelle says unless ratepayers make representations to the Valuation Office, it does not know what a ratepayer’s case might be.
The Valuation Office will be having walk-in clinics in Sligo on 27th and 28th March.
Final valuations will be issued in September and ratepayers who are still dissatisfied may appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.