No increase in commercial rates in Kerry in 2022

'Significant' inflation costs along with continuing uncertainty over Covid have been factored into the revenue and expenditure of over €354m, councillors were told
No increase in commercial rates in Kerry in 2022

Payroll is the single biggest cost in the estimated expenditure of over €177m in Kerry in 2022, the annual budget meeting heard.

There is to be no increase in rates on commercial businesses for 2022 in Co Kerry, the annual budget meeting has heard.

“Significant” inflation costs along with continuing uncertainty over Covid have been factored into the revenue and expenditure of over €354m, councillors were told in Tralee today.

The budget for next year is being presented amid a backdrop of worry about rates collection and tourism downturn in a county where one in five jobs depends on the industry. 

“Financial risk is still facing us next year, so the budget may be reviewed,” said the council's chief executive Moira Murrell.

The single biggest cost in the estimated expenditure of over €177m in Kerry in 2022 is payroll, the meeting was told.

Increase in payroll costs

The impact of national pay agreements between the Government and unions for public sector workers affects local government employees and has resulted in an increase in payroll costs of €6.26m on that of 2021, said finance director Angela McAllen.

While a certain percentage will be recouped from the Government, the expenditure on payroll will amount to €76.1m, or 43% of the total spend by the local authority next year, ahead of all operational costs.

The council has around 1,350 on its staff and some 677 pensioners on its payroll, according to figures provided by the council.

A 7.5% increase in local property tax agreed this year is “critical” to the “unprecedented” €1.4bn rural and other regeneration schemes now progressing through design and delivery in towns and villages in Kerry, said Ms Murrell. Local property tax will bring in €14.8m next year.

On the revenue side, rates income is projected at €47.6m and is the second biggest single revenue stream for the council after State grants of €63.1m. Irish Water is at €13.2m for works carried out by the council.

Each year, parking fines and charges account for a significant share of income with €3.2m the target on motorists in Kerry in 2022.

Parking charges and planning fees and other losses sustained in 2021 because of the pandemic are to be covered by the Government, the meeting was told.

Monday’s budget meeting dealt largely with the council’s housing programme, with other programmes to be dealt with later in the week. There is a target of 315 social houses for delivery by the council in Kerry in 2022.

However, the pandemic put the council housing delivery for 2021 behind schedule with just 87 of the target 119 units fully completed.

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