Sinn Féin Councilors on Donegal County Council have proposed an increase in the Council’s Small Business Grant which they say will reduce the rates bill for thousands of small and medium enterprises in the County. It comes as Donegal county councillors failed to agree a rate for businesses at yesterday’s annual budget meeting.Speaking on behalf of the Sinn Féin team on Donegal County Council, Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher said the council has found itself in a “perilous position.” “Donegal County Council finds itself in a perilous position as it attempts to balance the books and pass a budget for 2018. This is due, in no small part, to the systematic under-funding of our local Council by central Government.“Consequently, there are two options open to Councillors in order to find a way to balance the €140 million budget book, we either cut services or we raise business rates. As a party, we will not be supporting a cut to services as we believe increased services and more investment in our infrastructure is what’s needed for Donegal. Equally, we cannot countenance a universal increase in rates which would severely imact on our hard-pressed business owners.“However, Sinn Féin has put forward a proposal to the management and members of Donegal County Council to increase the Council’s Small Business Grant to 10%. This grant allows for a rebate of 10% of the total rates bill up to a maximum of €500 and would, in effect, see a decrease in rates for 90% of the businesses in Donegal.“We believe these proposals are fair and equitable, allowing for the continue growth of our County while easing the burden on our SME’s. “We will further engage with management and members of the Council over the coming weeks to progress these proposals.”Proposal belowSinn Fein proposal for Budget 2018Propose to increase the small business grant scheme in line with each percentage point increase in the global rate increase to a maximum of €500.On a practical level the impact of this proposal would mean 78% of businesses would see a decrease in their rate bill, 12% of businesses would pay less than their charged rates bill for 2018 and only 10% would see a practical increase.The cost to this scheme is €250,000. Working examplesA shop in Carndonagh charged €500 in rates for 2017 would pay €475 when the 5% grant was included. The same shop would be charged €525 in 2018 but would only be liable for €472.50 when the 10% grant is included.A Guesthouse in west Donegal charged €10,000 in rates for 2017 would pay €9,750 when the 5% grant was included. The same hotel would be charged €10,500 in 2018 but would only be liable for €10,000 when the 10% grant is included.A Hotel in Letterkenny charged €30,000 in 2017 would pay €29,750 when the 5% grant was included. The same hotel would be charged €31,500 in 2018 but would only be liable for €31,000 when the 10% grant is included.Sinn Fein announce plan to cut rates for small and medium sized Donegal businesses was last modified: November 21st, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalSinn FeinSMEs
The fate of a state owned public water source north of Fairbanks remains in limbo. The Fox Spring is a popular place for locals to get their drinking water, but the state wants to divest of the property to eliminate rising maintenance costs for the aging well. Sale to a neighboring landowner is in the works, while a citizens group explores other options.Listen Now Fox Spring (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of TransportationThe deadline for public comment on sale of the Fox Spring is Friday. The Alaska Department of DOT spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said the sale to a neighboring property owner is not a done deal in light of citizens fighting to preserve public ownership.”People have commented about the desire to keep this well open and available for public use and we are very committed to helping that happen,” Bailey said.Under state law, the closest neighbor, gets first right of refusal if land goes up for sale. Fox Spring neighbor Patrick Kohl said he’d rather the land and spring stay with the state, and is only interested in acquiring the property as a buffer for his land. He emphasizes that even if the sale goes through, he wants the water source to remain accessible to the public.”My neighbors use it here and I use it myself you know to get water,” Kohl said. “You know, as long as I can work out some kind of use that people are comfortable with, I have not problem with doin’ this.”The DOT resorted to private sale to Kohl after the North Star Borough and other public entities declined the Fox Spring. A task force, headed up by Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District is fighting to keep it in state hands. Coordinator Joni Scharfenberg said the group wrote the Governor’s office seeking delay of the sale. She said they’ve been told the real estate transaction will proceed, but slowly, giving the task force time to work on public access options.”Trying to find out if this is or could be designated a historical site or a park some way and that way would be again a public entity,” Scharfenberg said.Scharfenberg said the task force is also investigating liability issues and ways to cover maintenance expenses.”People have suggested like a cooperative somehow,” Scharfenberg said. “Other people have suggested a membership. It was very interesting though when one of the public task force meetings was held, people said we don’t want people who can’t afford it to not be able to use it. So people were willing to pay but they weren’t going to make people who couldn’t afford it pay. But we don’t know how it’ll turn out in the end.”Scharfenberg said a similar public well in Salcha charges users 5 cents a gallon to cover maintenance costs. She said the task force is still trying to nail down exactly what annual expenses would be at the Fox Spring, where the well is expected to need work to maintain adequate water flow.