Restaurant has to pay €17,000 in council charges
A restaurant owner has told how hefty charges mean her business pays €17,000 a year to Dublin City Council.
Angela Ruttledge, who co-owns the popular Woodstock restaurant on Phibsborough Road, said that among her costs is a €900 charge to place a few tables and chairs outside.
She told the Herald: "Over the last number of years, first of all Dublin City Council separated out the water charges. A nominal amount was payable initially.
"Now our water charges are €3,000 but our rates haven't gone down. When our water charges are metered, I presume we will pay more rather than less.
"I am happy to pay water charges, but I just don't think there should still be this big lump sum of the commercial rates to pay as well.
"The same goes for the fats, oils and greases licence which is now payable separately as well, which is a substantial amount.
"We also pay for our own waste disposal.
"Between the commercial rates, water charges, tables and chairs licence and the fats, oils and greases licence, it's up to €17,000 a year going to the council before you even sell anything.
"That said, I don't think our rates are particularly high compared with other businesses I've heard of."
However, she added that it is difficult to see the value in the annual payments.
When the water is cut off in Phibsborough, which has happened several times a year, there is no support, said Angela. "Over the last number of years we've had to really try and cut all our costs," she added.
"We've tried to negotiate with suppliers, but there has been no corresponding reduction in costs from the council."
Angela said that councillors individually and the council staff are helpful, but she urged that the issue of rates needs to be looked at.
Meanwhile, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) yesterday voted "no confidence" in Dublin City Council as a pro-business authority.
The association said commercial rates for restaurants have increased on average by 68pc in the past 12 months.
Chief executive Adrian Cummins said several restaurants in the city had seen their annual rates bill jump dramatically.
The association is now writing to all councillors seeking emergency measures to reduce rates by at least 30pc.
Mr Cummins said restaurateurs are questioning what their rates bills are going towards, as there has been "no improvement" in services.
In a statement concerning the issue of rates, the council said that a re-evaluation process was carried out by the Valuation Office which is independent of the council and reports to the Department of Finance.
The re-evaluation cannot and did not provide any new resources for the council, it said.
Broadly speaking, 40pc of commercial ratepayers had a decrease in their rates, and this was also reflected among restaurants.