Flexibility offered to Offaly ratepayers amid business closures

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

Flexibility offered to Offaly ratepayers amid business closures

Offaly County Council offices

Offaly County Council is currently working as part of the State’s co-ordinated response to dealing with the Public Health threat posed by COVID-19, while also helping to ensure that the impacts on communities, businesses and other stakeholders are minimised.

The local authority continues to deliver critical services, including Emergency Response, Housing, Roads and Water services, and are working with the HSE at national, regional and local level on the co-ordinated response to COVID-19. Regular services across the range of service divisions continue to be delivered.

The council said: "Businesses around the county will shortly be billed for €18 million in statutory commercial rates by Offaly County Council in 2020. This is a critical source of income, providing 26% of total funding for essential local services. In making this contribution Offaly County Council is acutely aware of the potential issues faced by their ratepayers.

"Offaly County Council has been, and continues to, deal with difficulties experienced by ratepayers on a case by case basis. We are taking account of business pressures at this extraordinary time in terms of collection of rates. We have a long-standing relationship with local businesses and are very well placed to deal with this evolving situation and its impact on ratepayers in their local areas and operating environments.

"In particular, in the first instance, businesses, such as those in the hospitality sector, small and medium retailers, leisure and childcare areas, have been identified as those that could be adversely affected. The Government has stated that local authorities should agree to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses - primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for three months, until end-May.

"As a result any commercial ratepayers that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations during the COVID- 19 response period should contact their Offaly County Council Revenue Collector immediately on receipt of your rates bill, in relation to any rates payments falling due in the period to end-May and agree a payment schedule to the end of 2020."

Full contact details for Revenue Collectors for your area are available on www.offaly.ie or contact our rates office at rates@offalycoco.ie or by telephoning (057) 93 57408

"Ratepayers that can continue to pay their outstanding local authority rates should continue to do so in the normal way. 

"In the event of any National Rates relief scheme being agreed for small business due to COVID 19, Offaly County Council will apply the appropriate relief under the scheme to your account immediately.

"Offaly County Council is also continuing to operate a Rates Rebate Scheme for 2020 Rates. The aim of the Scheme is to help reduce the cost pressures on businesses, particularly small to medium enterprises and to foster a healthy environment for economic growth.

"The Scheme is applicable to all Ratepayers in County Offaly subject to certain terms and conditions and gives a rebate, on full payment of the 2020 Rates of 5% of the value of your 2020 annual rates bill (excluding arrears) subject to a maximum of €250.00. The Rates Rebate for 2019 for accounts cleared in full in 2019, (if applicable) will be calculated and applied to rates accounts shortly.

"Offaly County Councils Local Enterprise Office continues to support business in the county through an enterprise website, as they plan their response to the difficulties posed by COVID-19.

Extensive information resources can be accessed at: www.localenterprise.ie/response 

"It is hoped that this current period of disruption will not be prolonged and as Offaly County Council continues to deliver public services, commercial life can return to normal with minimal impact on businesses."