Mayo County Council will sit down on Friday afternoon at 1pm to finalise their budget for the coming year. On Monday the elected members were given lengthy presentation on the proposed €122.5 million budget for 2017.
One area that is sure to cause plenty of concern to the business people in Westport and Ballina is that the council executive are proposing to equalise the annual ratable valuation across the county next year. The current county council rate is 68.76, with the old Westport Town Council area currently having a rate of 65.76 and the old Ballina Town Council having a rate of 66.46.
Westport based Fianna Fail Cllr Brendan Mulroy told the Mayo Advertiser that, “we’re being penalised for losing our town council on this. We’re not happy at all with this and will be looking for this to be stretched out over a longer period of time and at the meeting on Friday, we’ll be making that issue very vocally.”
Before their abolishment Town Council’s struck their own rates for their areas, but with the abolishment of these councils in June 2014 the responsibility for striking a commercial rate passed on to the county council. The county council were given a ten year period to equalise the rate across the the county, but as far back as the 2014 budget meeting of the council, the local authorities executive had indicated that they wished to see this equalization process to take place over a three year period, starting this year.
The prospect of the rates in the two areas with lower rates at present being brought in-line with the rest of the county is going to meet with fierce resistance by the elected members from the Westport and Ballina former town council areas where business could be looking at an increase in their commercial rates next year if it goes through as proposed.