I was proud to play my part on the team that negotiated the 2017 budget for the County.  We have delivered a budget that will provide for a €5m increase in services while maintaining the reduction of the maximum 15% allowable to the basic rate of Local Property Tax. To encourage local employment and small business growth we introduced a new SME Support Grant which will see a benefit, equivalent to a 2.5% reduction in rates, for 72% of businesses (3,800 SMEs). In addition to this, a €300k provision has been made for business promotion grants, shop front improvement grants, vacant shop grants, retail development and Springboard.