I recently put forward the following council motion to DLR Co. Co.:
“That this Council considers the establishment of a Commercial Rates Relief Fund equivalent to 2% of the 2014 Rates collection, and that this fund is used to pay the 2014 Rates bill of successful applicant businesses qualifying on the following criteria:
- Receipt of assistance ensures that at least one full time job is either created or saved
- The qualifying business is either a start up or an existing business that increases it’s long term viability by receipt of temporary financial assistance”
I brought this motion for two reasons:
Firstly, I believe that when we come to framing the 2015 budget we should give due and serious consideration to promoting local enterprises.
As Councillors we are elected for a 5 yr term, and therefore have responsibility for the financial health of this county beyond the short term time frame of just the next financial year. We have many responsibilities and many services to provide on a limited budget. But we must also make sure that we have adequate resources year after year in order to be able to meet the financial demands of running the county. To create economic activity and enable future growth we must be prepared to invest. Commercial businesses and enterprises in the county provide a not insignificant portion of our annual income, it is therefore in our interest to take measures to ensure the continued growth and success of local enterprises. Our ability to provide services into the future is tied to the economy of the county.
The second reason that I proposed this motion, is that I acknowledge that we have limited financial resources, and I accept that a small percentage cut in commercial rates will have little meaningful impact on individual businesses. Additionally, whereas all businesses can benefit from a cost break, in times when that aid cannot be pervasive we have focus our efforts where we can do most good.
I am therefore proposing that we target any potential reduction in Commercial Rates directly at areas where such a measure will have the most impact.
I want us to focus our investment in the areas that present the most potential for a positive return. I want us to use this opportunity to provide substantial and meaningful support and encouragement to small local enterprises.
By focusing the proposed rates relief fund directly at start ups, or viable businesses in short term financial difficulty we will:
- have a real and measurable impact on creating or saving jobs (it is estimated that the equivalent of a 2% rate cut, if correctly targeted, will assist 113 companies and produce a benefit of 113 additional jobs).
- recoup our investment, and more, through the future rates take from these businesses.
- contribute to the rejuvenation of the main streets in our villages, such as Dundrum and Dun Laoghaire.
On this basis I will ask the council to vote for an enhancement to economic activity and to support this motion.