SWEEPING changes to commercial rates across Kerry, which are expected to see rates jump in Killarney and drop significantly Tralee, are set to be introduced in 2015.
A new countywide commercial rate is to be introduced in 2015 though businesses whose existing rates are lower will be given initial annual discounts by Kerry County Council to lessen the impact.
The Local Government Bill to abolish Ireland's town councils will lead to sweeping changes in how commercial rates are calculated and how much businesses are actually charged every year.
Tralee is almost certain to benefit significantly from the changes which could see rates in the town drop by as much as five per cent while businesses in Killarney can expect the rates to increase dramatically in the coming years.
Under the current local government system, each local authority is entitled to set its own commercial rates.
Businesses in Tralee, Killarney and Listowel, which have their own councils, each pay rates at three widely differing levels while businesses in the rest of the county, in areas governed exclusively by Kerry County Council, are charged another, separate, rate.
The new legislation puts an end to these varying rates and stipulates that after the town councils are abolished each county council must introduce one unified commercial rate for their entire county.
It's expected that this new rate in Kerry will fall somewhere in the middle of the €81.18 rate levied in Tralee and the €70.37 rate in Killarney.
It is viewed as likely that the new rate will probably be close to the €77.07 rate charged in Listowel.
Councils will have a ten year grace period to fully implement the new cross county rates but they are required to announce a figure for their unified rate by 2015 which will be treated as a, so called, base year.
Businesses whose current commercial rates are below the new unified rate will be offered gradually reducing annual discounts on their yearly rates until they are brought in line with the new unified rate.
It's expected that businesses in town's where the commercial rates are higher than the new rate will see their rates reduced annually until they too are in line with the new county rate.
These gradual reductions and increases will be phased in over a maximum of ten years to lessen the impact on businesses.
While there is a ten year period allowed the government is encouraging council's to complete the process sooner if possible.