An increase of a half a per cent (0.05) in rates was voted by Louth County Council after over three hours deliberations at their annual budget meeting.
This brings the sum that rate payers have to pay to £55.36 from £55.08 in 2013.
This was in the face of opposition to raising the rates being voiced because of the threat to jobs and businesses, with calls made for a reduction in the rate ranging from two and a half to five percent.
However, in the end the councillors opted to pass a proposal by Paul Bell and Pio Smith to adapt the rate of 55.08 recommended by the County Manager Philomena Poole with the qualification that €135,000 be equally spent on the road programme and house adaptation grants.
This was on top of €700,000 the Councillors was urged to include for a rates refund which they did.
The council was only notified of the loss of a case involving Celtic Roads involving the valuation of the toll booths and motorway section they operate on the M1.
The Supreme Court had made a judgement against the Council and Meath County Council also was involved.
Financial Director Bernie Woods said the county was looking at a bill of €500,000 plus as yet un-determined costs.
She said that an additional €1.1m had been allocated to the three authorities in the county, and she advised that the council’s share of €835,000 be used to cover the refund, with €700,000 allocated for that purpose and the remainder €135,000 to the council’s road works programme.
The rate proposed was based on an expenditure of €67.76m and income of €49.99m, with the difference of €17.77m to be funded from a combination of the County demand, Local Government Fund, Pension Related deductions from staff remunerations and commercial rates, said the County Manager.
The County Demand was €1.65m, Pension Related deductions €0.9m and the estimated Local Government sum €7.13.
The balance was to be levied on commercial rates.
The Manager explained the council currently had the third lowest annual rate of all county councils, which had been held since 2010.
It was necessary to raise the charge on rates because the council’s income was reducing year on year. Examples were the closure of their landfill facility, reduction in the local government fund.
Following the unification of the councils in the county next year the 2015 would see the beginning of a realignment of rates within the county to bring all rates within the county and urban areas in line, she said.