THE decision to abolish Kerry's three town councils is likely to have major financial implications for every business in the county as Kerry's entire commercial rates system will need to be overhauled.
While many businesses, especially those in Tralee, can expect to see their rates reduced others, mainly in the Killarney area could see a significant jump in their annual rates.
With the abolition of Tralee, Listowel and Killarney town councils in 2014 the new look Kerry County Council must introduce a single, unified commercial rate for the entire county to replace the four different rates currently charged by the three town councils and Kerry County Council.
The change to a single unified rate will be introduced gradually, likely over a number of years, but it will require major changes to the rates that are currently paid by business owners across the county.
Rates vary widely in Kerry from just €70.37 in Killarney to €81.18 in Tralee which currently has the second highest rates in the entire country outside of central Dublin.
In Listowel the rate is currently €77.07 while the rate set by Kerry County Council for the rest of the is now €80.35. Once the town councils are abolished and the new County Council is created these four rates will have to be averaged out and a new single rate applied.
Obviously given the huge difference between rates in Killarney and Tralee this could potentially have major ramifications for business owners in both towns, with Tralee's rate likely to decrease by some slight margin while Killarney's rate possibly facing a significant increase to bring it in line with the rest of the county.
For example if Kerry County Council were simply to apply an average of the four existing rates (which would be €77.27) Killarney businesses would see their rate increase by almost € 7, Tralee business owners would see a rate fall of almost €4 and the rate in Listowel would remain almost unchanged.
This year Kerry County Council and the three town councils expect to collect a total €35.7 million in commercial rates. Killarney, despite its smaller population than Tralee and its low rate, will contribute €7.8 million of this sum, accounting for over a fifth of all rates in the county and equivalent to a third of the rates money Kerry County Council hope to collect across the rest of the county.
Tralee by comparison is expected to take in just €6.2 million despite a greater population and a significantly higher level of rates.