No change to Local Property Tax in 2019
THE Council has agreed not to vary the Local Property Tax (LPT) for the county next year.
In a heated debate about the merits of raising or slashing the controversial tax - which was once likened to a “vampire tax” by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Cllr Declan Bree pointed out - members voted to leave it at the current rate.
The tax brought ¤10.2m into the Council’s bank balance this year with the same amount projected for 2019 if members didn’t change it.
Councillor Declan Bree proposed cutting the LPT by 15 per cent, as is their right to do since 2014.
Head of Finance Marie Whelan told members however, that if they cut the LPT by 15 per cent, it would mean a loss to the Council of almost ¤800,000.
Cllr Seamus Kilgannon proposed no change. “To make a proposal to reduce it by 800,000 and suggest we get it from the Government is reckless and just looking for publicity,” said Cllr Kilgannon. “We can’t get ¤10,000 off the Government never mind ¤800,000,” he said, pointing out that the potential saving to the person paying the tax of just over ¤13 was “very, very little” compare to the overall loss of revenue to the Council budget.
He was supported by Cllr Tom MacSharry: “We’d all love to reduce it but we just can’t.”
Council Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes urged the members not to cut the LPT: “There has been a lot of talk in recent years of fantasy budgets... how does this proposal reconcile with the earlier position?” he said.
He said Cllr Bree’s proposal would reduce the LPT in 44 per cent of households by ¤13.50, but would reduce the Council budget by ¤788,000.
Cllr Micheal Clarke said he would support Cllr Kilgannon’s motion if they would agreed to increasing the budget for grants for older people next year.
Cllr Bree’s motion was defeated by 11 votes against. Cllr Kilgannon’s motion to leave the LPT the same for 2019 was agreed.