Dublin city councillors have voted not to increase the rate of local property tax that will be paid by homeowners next year, despite warnings from council chief executive Owen Keegan about the urgent need for city funding.
While the rate charged by the council will not change for 2022, households in the city could still see their bills rise following the forthcoming revaluation of their homes.
Homeowners are required to submit a new valuation for their properties in November, in what will be the first revision to valuations since the tax was introduced in 2013.
Last year just three local authorities reduced the rate, all in Dublin. Dublin City Council and South Dublin went for the maximum 15 per cent cut, while Fingal went for 10 per cent. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, for the first time since the tax was introduced, applied no discount, meaning all homeowners in the area received higher bills this year.
While city councillors have applied the cut each year since the tax was introduced, Mr Keegan had asked they not grant the 15 per cent reduction for 2022 because of the “pressing need for additional services” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is widely accepted that the pandemic has had a greater negative economic impact on cities and urban economies than rural,” he said. “The absence of the city’s retail and entertainment experience caused considerable shock to those sectors and to the broader city economy.”
The council needed to find funding to maintain the services it had introduced during the pandemic and to “meet the many increasing demands of our city”, he said. “There has never been a more pressing, urgent and widely acknowledged need for additional services as Dublin adapts to a shifting social and business context.”
The Green Party, Labour and the Social Democrats supported Mr Keegan’s recommendation not to cut the rate.
"If we want a decent capital city we need to grow up and pay for a decent capital city," said Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon. However, their motion was defeated by 39 to 21 votes.
Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and Independent councillors voted to support a Fianna Fáil motion to implement the 15 per cent reduction.
Cllr Deirdre Heney of Fianna Fáil said the tax was "very unfair tax on Dubliners" because 20 per cent of the tax collected in the city was reallocated to poorer, largely rural local authorities.
South Dublin County Council last week voted to also apply the 15 per cent discount, while Fingal voted for a 10 per cent cut. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council will set its rate next month.