Donegal County Council has revealed that in 2017 the collection of commercial rates increased to 74% up from 68% in 2016.
Director of Finance Garry Martin acknowledged this increase and thanked businesses in Donegal for their ongoing support and cooperation in the collection of commercial rates.
“Our collection performance increased significantly over the last number of years despite the less favourable economic climate for small businesses in the county” says Garry Martin.
“Whilst tourism generated income has increased, a significant portion of the Donegal boundary borders Northern Ireland and this does present additional challenges for businesses including currency fluctuations and the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit.”
5,409 commercial properties in Donegal were billed for commercial rates in 2017 and the net value of the rate demands that issued was €30.4m and the net cash collected was €24.6m
The collection rate in 2014, which was the year that first included figures for the former Town Councils, was 56% and the arrears for the same year was €17.6m. In 2017 the collection rates increased to 74% and arrears reduced by almost €3m to €14.6m.
“We are pleased with the progress made over the last number of years and I would like to acknowledge the work done by our income collection unit who have worked closely and constructively with businesses across the county during what has been a challenging time for all.”
“Commercial rates are an essential income stream for the Council and allow us to fund a broad range of services including roads, housing, fire services, community supports and local development initiatives as well as enabling us to leverage additional funding from external sources including EU funding programmes to drive forward substantial strategic projects for the county” concluded Garry Martin.
In a report to the meeting of Donegal County Council today, it was noted that rates to the value of €6.5m was deemed to be irrecoverable in 2017 and this included €3.3m for vacant properties as rates are not due on vacant properties and €3.2m which have been deemed as uncollectable.