Council cuts commercial rates by 5%

Limerick City Council last night approved a 5% cut in commercial rates for the city, a move described as a great boost for businesses.

The cut formed part of a council budget with a total projected spend of €160m.

The budget also includes the establishment of a marketing fund to promote the city, with €250,000 to be invested in 2013 and a further €235,000 for its City of Culture 2014 fund.

The council also approved increased allocations for local authority housing maintenance, the refuse waiver scheme, environmental and community grants, and home assistance grants/housing adaptation grants.

Limerick local authorities manager Conn Murray said: “This budget has been prepared against the backdrop of the economic reality we continue to face. The budget proposed to council supports business and moves the economic agenda forward at pace.

“Equally important, it continues to support the communities that depend on our services and those parts of the community that we depend on to help us deliver the type of environment that we all desire.”

Meanwhile, hard-pressed householders in Cork face a raft of new charges, with local authority tenants hit with a boiler tax, after Cork City Council last night narrowly voted to adopt its 2013 budget.

It was agreed by 17 votes to 14 after a lengthy estimates meeting during which Fianna Fáil councillors broke with the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil/Labour pact and voted against the overall budget.

Cllr Pat Gosch (FG) also voted against her party on the housing sections but supported the final budget vote.

Under the budget measures agreed, tenants of some 8,200 local authority homes will be hit with a boiler maintenance charge; the cost of burial plots and the charge for grave openings have increased; and a new fee for the release of towed cars is on the cards.

Councillors voted to cut the lord mayor’s €109,000-plus salary by 10% and divert the €9,200 saving to street lighting. They also cut their conference expenses from €145,000 to €100,000.

Money diverted from the expenses will prevent an increase in the cost of residents’ parking permits, from €10 per annum to €30 for two years.

City manager Tim Lucey said the budget was prepared against the backdrop of a massive drop in central government funding.

The Local Government Fund will be just over €16.6m, down 3.78% on last year but down just over 40% since 2009, Mr Lucey said.


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