Council puts 240 struggling businesses on payment planSeptember 18, 2012 - 7:30am
BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM
Galway City Council has put almost 240 local businesses on flexible payment plans for commercial rates in an effort to relieve the financial burden on struggling companies.
New figures from the County and City Managers’ Association (CCMA) show that in 2011, €9.27 million worth of commercial rates owed to the City Council were placed on payments plans.
The figures come as part of a nationwide report on ‘Local Authority Support to Enterprise & Business’.
Eight staff in the City Council are now working directly with businesses which are in financial difficulty.
According to the report: “Galway City Council restructured its finance, with eight staff working directly with businesses in difficulty, to develop payment plans.
“The Debt Management Section engages directly with businesses, to offer support to ensure they can meet their rate payments in a balanced way, and is focused on keeping lines of communications open with all ratepayers. This model allows for one-to-one meetings, discussion and advice.
“Currently 239 businesses, with €9.27m worth of commercial rates have been placed on payment plans,” the report reads.
It emerged last week that so far this year, €19.4m of the €51.2m owed to the Council has been collected, leaving a shortfall of €31.8m.
And around €5m in unpaid rates is set to be written off by the local authority, monies which were racked up by businesses that have since gone bust.
Interim City Manager Joe O’Neill has told councillors that he will be presenting them with a list of proposed cuts in the coming weeks – the local authority has already spent or allocated most of its funding for 2012 with 14 weeks left in the year.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel