FF fails to delay passage of Dublin city budget
Fianna Fáil last night attempted to delay the passage of next year’s Dublin city budget, saying the pending national property tax and its effects on local government funding rendered it premature.
Party leader on the council Mary Fitzpatrick said it was unclear what effects a property charge, details of which will be unveiled in the Dáil in next month’s budget, would have on funding for the city.
Last night’s debate precipitated the rubber-stamping of an operational fund worth just over €1 billion.
It includes provision for an extension of the popular Dublin Bikes scheme, a reduction in business rates by half a per cent, flood prevention measures, as well as a retention of general services without any cuts.
However, Ms Fitzpatrick said there was too much uncertainty as to how a new property tax could impact on the budget and that its adoption should be delayed until December 10th next.
In particular, she said, the non-principal private residences (NPPR) tax, paid by those with investment properties, could be directly affected – an estimated €12 million would come in from the NPPR next year alone.
There were also concerns about possible shortfalls in central funding should there be difficulties collecting a controversial new levy.
“To approve the budget with this question mark is irresponsible,” she said.
Sinn Féin and Labour, which had tabled amendments to the budget, said they agreed with the sentiment but would not support the move and it was roundly rejected.
Labour leader on the council Dermot Lacey said that at just over €1 billion for 2013 – nearly €810 million in the general budget as well as some €668 million in rolling capital allowances between now and 2015 – the city budget was too important to delay.
Elsewhere, key areas of the draft city budget included a commitment to expand the successful Dublin Bikes scheme by 1,500 bikes from its current level of 550.