I intend to hold hold a number of meetings with businesses across Kildare and the head of the Valuations Office, Declan Lavelle, following high increases in rates which have occurred in recent weeks to traders across Kildare North.
I have been in talks with businesses who have contacted me regarding these increased rates. Understandably it is a serious concern. In some cases rates have increased by 300%. Clearly this is unsustainable and could cause many small businesses to close their doors. I am making every effort to prevent this from happening, including raising this in the Dáil with the Taoiseach and hosting these public meetings.
I held a minor meeting in my office in Naas where over 30 business owners turned up with concerns over their rates fees. I have also had the same level of contact from owners in Maynooth, Celbridge, and Leixlip. I am happy to confirm Declan Lavelle, who is head of the valuation office, will be in attendance to meet business owners. With inconsistency in the methodology used to arrive at these new rates I suspect some may be reduced following an appeal and the meeting will explain how to do that. For those interested the meeting will take place in Maynooth’s Glenroyal Hotel on 30th March at 6.30pm and in Naas’ Kildare Chamber of Commerce offices on 6th April at 6.30pm.
I have also sat down with the Fianna Fáil Local Government team to think out a range of measures. Our proposals will include a cap on the maximum increase, a mechanism to stagger an increase over five years, a special rate for struggling businesses, ability to pay, and for rural areas a clause to allow negotiation with their local authority.