Cork County Council’s budget 2017 will mean rent rises for tenants living in houses previously owned by the now defunct Fermoy Town Council. Previously, town councils adopted lower rates than that of the county, because their housing units were older.

The rent increase will take place on the units owned by all nine of Cork’s previous town councils. These targeted increases are set to add €750,000 to next year’s Council budget.

Cllr Kay Dawson (Fine Gael), who voted in favour of the budget, said these changes will create a level playing field.

“It is to bring on par that everyone is paying the same. Someone living 100 yards up the road could be paying less than you,” said Cllr Dawson.

Also in the budget, passed at a meeting of Cork County Council on Monday by 40 votes to eight, rates for businesses in the county will be frozen for the next five years.

Councillor Deirdre O’Brien (Fianna Fail) whose party voted in favour of the budget also, said she supported the budget and the rates for businesses staying the same.

“The rates are going to be all in line to help businesses reach the same target. Once the rates would not be increasing in towns it will help,” said Cllr O’Brien.

Commenting on the unchanged rates, Cllr Dawson, said it is important that they are consistent.

“The rates have to come on par. The ones that were paying lower, need to be paying higher. It is all about transparency, fairness and equal delivery of services,” she said.

Cllr Dawson added that going forward she would like to see more being done with regard to rates for start-up businesses.

Cork County Council faces increased costs through payroll and pensions next year within its €306.8 million budget for 2017. To offset this, the council will take €1.8 million out of its reserves.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey, said the council will be utilising local property tax to impact positively on communities and that additional funding is being set aside for town and village renewal schemes.

The Council’s budget expenditure will increase from €295 million in 2016 to €306 million in 2017.