A FIANNA Fail councillor has called on Cork County Council to allow Clonakilty traders rate relief because their businesses have been affected by road closures.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, chairperson of the West Cork Municipal District, asked Tim Lucey, Council CEO, to consider a rate relief scheme for the traders because of the long-term street closures that they have had to endure in recent months.
During the discussion, it was also confirmed that an ancient wall that had been found beneath the existing road surface at Pearse St was not considered to be of any great archaeological significance and the local authority has given the green light for works in that area to proceed.
Towns that formally had Town Councils will see a rates hike in 2016 because of the Government’s Rates Harmonisation Legislation, which will eventually see traders in these towns paying the same rates as other businesses across the county.
But Cllr O’Sullivan pleaded for a ‘freeze’ on the current rate in Clonakilty saying: ‘Business people in the town have had to endure a lot of hardship and inconvenience because of the current drainage works.
‘Freezing the rates harmonisation process for 12 months would go some way towards easing the difficulties being experienced by some of these businesses,’ he added. ‘Everyone knows the works are necessary and the finished streetscape will be fantastic, but there is no escaping the fact that some businesses have suffered as a result.’
Although every shop in every street is still open for business, the entire project will not be finalised until next St Patrick’s Day.
The CEO Tim Lucey said his hands were ‘tied’ by current legislation, but Cllr O’Sullivan suggested that ‘at the very least businesses would have the option of paying their 2016 rate bill over a three to four year period.’