::: Speaking about rates at the PAC on June 20
John tells Public Accounts Committee that revaluation process could leave local retail businesses on brink
Fine Gael TD John Deasy has called on the cabinet to immediately consider the potentially “catastrophic” implications of the rates revaluation process for retailers throughout Waterford city and county.
The Valuation Office has begun a systematic National Revaluation Programme based on a 2011 analysis of non-domestic rental values. Proposed Valuation Certificates have been issued to thousands of commercial and industrial ratepayers across Waterford over the past month.
With the average rateable increase in the retail sector locally around 40–50 per cent, “Make no mistake – people will be put out of business due to this revaluation,” Mr Deasy warned this week. “Many retailers are facing a doubling or even tripling of their commercial rates.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process.”
“In my home town of Dungarvan they are also potentially facing an increase as a result of the abolition of the Town Council and the harmonisation of Town Council rates with the higher County rate. Then there’s Waterford City, where there’s an enormous unemployment rate; approaching 30 per cent in parts.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process,” added Mr Deasy, who met the Commissioner for Valuation in Waterford at the weekend.
He also raised the issue at the Public Accounts Committee last Thursday, where he agreed with retail ratepayers that there’s “a massive disconnect between Dublin and what’s going on on the ground.”
While accepting “the people in the Valuation Office are merely doing their jobs,” Deputy Deasy maintains that “the legislation allowing for the revaluation doesn’t taken into account what’s after happening to the business community these last six or seven years.
“Self-employed people have ended up with massive personal debt and a far smaller customer base. This legislation made no provision for the changing economy. It was written in a different time economically.”
Deputy Deasy also points to the “macro-economic policy issues arising from this revaluation process. In many cases businesses have come to me and said, ‘We’re going to have to leave people off if I have to pay this bill’. That has an effect on the State spend when it comes to unemployment benefits and so on.”
And he insisted: “Someone in Government needs to attempt to understand the implications of rates revaluation. The Government can’t wash their hands of a measure that has the potential to wipe out another chunk of the retail sector.”
Deputy John Deasy, Waterford international athlete Kelly Proper, Minister for Sport Michael Ring, and Mayor of the City, Cllr Jim D’Arcy, at the opening of the all-new RSC track at Kilbarry last Thursday, which was undertaken thanks to a near-€500,000 Government grant.
Waterford City Council’s application under the Sports Capital Programme was also supported by John Foley, CEO of Athletics Ireland, County Athletics Board PRO Fintan Walsh, and Brid Golden, Secretary and Head Coach of Ferrybank AC.
The state-of-the-art 400m rubber surface was laid by Mondo, the Italian global leader in track & field flooring, who have been responsible for the main running arena at the last 10 Olympic Games as well as the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Photo: Noel Browne
On track for June completion
John Deasy TD, and the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Jim D’Arcy, check out the track upgrading works at the Regional Sports Centre, Kilbarry on Friday last.
Contractors Mondo are the global leader in track & field flooring, being responsible for the main track at the past nine Olympics, including the London Games, and the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Moscow. The top-of-the-range blue rubber base is the same surface on which the likes of Usain Bolt and Sebastian Coe set world records.
The track was manufactured at Mondo’s plant in Italy and delivered to Waterford in hundreds of rubber rolls. The meticulous installation process is being done by hand, and the resurfacing includes the high-jump area. Work is now scheduled to be completed on-site next month. Weather-permitting, lining is to begin the first week of June and will take a fortnight.
Deputy Deasy said: “I really want to thank Michael Ring, Minister for Sport, whose Department provided the funding to Waterford City Council, for his help with revamping the RSC track to a world-class standard. He’s taken a personal interest in this project and knows how important it is to hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the area.” [Photo by John Power]