Councillors in Leitrim yesterday passed the County Budget for 2021. They decided against increasing rates, however the controversial 25% vacant commercial premises levy has been retained for at least another year.
The Council Budget for next year has increased by over 4 million euro despite rates being impacted by Covid-19. Government support will also result in additional funding being available for housing.
Councillors decided to reject a proposed rates increase of 6.5%
Prior to the meeting, Leitrim County Council Chief Executive Lar Power had stated that that the local authority’s finances have been prepared as part of a “strategic and significant” capital investment programme for the county in the next six years.
Surprisingly only 14% of the Council’s income comes from rates.
The Councillors voted to retain the 25% vacant commercial premises levy which the owners of commercial premises have to pay even though there no business trading from the premises. Cathaoirleach of the Council, Cllr. Mary Bohan says although retained for another year it was something that does not sit well with Councillors:
Overall the Council is hoping to spend £39.7m next year, with income of €23.9m.
Cllr. Bohan says the local authority are aware of the challenges facing the businesses of the County and that Hardship funds will be available for business owners that are suffering during Covid -19:
It also emerged at yesterday’s meeting that 470 local businesses have availed of a business restart grant to the sum of 3.4 million euro that is provided by the Government and administrated by the local authority.
Cllr. Bohan says this funding is a lifeline for many small businesses and has called for it continue:
Finally a greater allocation will be made available for housing and roads in 2020. On housing Cllr Bohan says the option of purchasing turn key accommodation is another option for the local authority: