2017 saw 'considerable improvement' in rates collection by council

Kerry County Council (KCC) has reported a "considerable improvement" in rate collection last year, with businesses across the county becoming more compliant in paying their commercial rates.

KCC's Head of Finance Angela McAllen told councillors on Monday that rate collection had increased from 81 per cent in 2016 to 83 per cent in 2017. The national rate collection target is 81 per cent.

According to the council's 2017 Financial Statement, which was published on Monday, KCC collected over €34.2 million in rates last year leaving it with rates arrears of over €7.8 million at the end of December.

Of those arrears just over €600,000 were described as being "doubtful".

During the year just under €5million in outstanding rates were written off while there were a further €2.4 million in vacant property adjustments.

Ms McAllen said that while collections were up, the council's reliance on "locally sourced income" is increasing and the collection is a priority for the authority.

"We will continue to maintain and strengthen our focus on debt collection," she told councillors. "Our collection staff continue to work through satisfactory payment plans with all our debtors where necessary. Unfortunately, where no reasonable means are taken to pay outstanding debts we have no option but to take appropriate court action or other recovery measures," Ms McAllen said.