Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has again stressed the importance for any business who is unhappy with their proposed rates valuation to ensure they lodge an appeal before the closing date of 18th April. He was speaking at a public meeting on the issue at the Clanard Court Hotel Athy on Thursday evening.
“I listened to the concerns of local business owners at the meeting and can understand their frustration with many elements of what is a complex process. While there are actions we can take through legislation to improve the process, the first and most vital step is to ensure that every business that has an issue with their proposed rates gets an appeal in by April 18th.
“Advice was given at the meeting to assist those planning to appeal. While professional advice is available, it is not always necessary. Appeals based on sentiment alone will not carry much weight. Appeals should be backed up by evidence and facts as much as possible, particularly of other rental valuations in your own area. The public register of commercial leases which is available from the Property Services Regulatory Authority is a very useful tool which allows you to search for details of commercial leases in your area for comparison purposes. It can be accessed at https://www.propertypriceregister.ie/website/npsra/pprweb-com.nsf/page/ppr-home-en.
“I advised those in attendance that I had raised the concerns of Kildare businesses directly with Minister Simon Coveney. He has confirmed to me that he plans to bring heads of a new Bill to Cabinet in April which will modernise the legislation around the levying and collection of commercial rates. One of the proposals would give County Councillors the powers to introduce schemes to alleviate rates for certain categories of rate payers in their County.
“I also confirmed at the meeting that under section 56 of the 2001 valuation Act, Kildare County Council cannot benefit from any recalibration of rates such as this and that Minister Coveney will sign an order in that regard.
“’A number of sports clubs have contacted me also, they too must appeal but I will be pushing for legislation to take account of sports halls that currently are being rated for having teenage disco’s in their halls. The valuation office are wrong in this interpretation to rate these halls and I will push for a change in the law if those clubs aren’t successful on appeal.
“Staff from the Valuation Office will be in the Athy Municipal District Office for a walk-in clinic on Wednesday next 5th April to answer queries on the revaluation process and offer guidance on making representations. This is a good opportunity for local businesses to speak directly to valuation office staff and get advice on their own particular case.