South Dublin County Council leaves property tax unchanged

Kerry homeowners face 5% hike next year as council seeks to reduce €4 million deficit

Fingal County Council was the only Dublin local authority to vote in favour of a higher property tax. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Fingal County Council was the only Dublin local authority to vote in favour of a higher property tax. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Homeowners in the South Dublin County Council area will not face any increase in their local property tax (LPT) next year, but Kerry councillors have voted for a 5 per cent rise.

Councillors in south Dublin voted to apply the maximum discount of 15 per cent below the national property tax rate for the fourth year in a row.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Sinn Féin, Solidarity and People Before Profit all voted for the reduction, with Labour, Social Democrats and mayor of South Dublin County Council Paul Gogarty (Independent) voting for a lesser cut.

Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle said retaining the 15 per cent discount was “fair and efficient”.

Fingal County Council was the only Dublin local authority to vote in favour of a higher property tax, reducing the rate by just 10 per cent.

Narrow majority

Councillors in Kerry voted by a narrow majority to increase the tax for next year by 5 per cent above the basic rate.

Kerry County Council chief executive Moira Murrell had sought a rise of 10 per cent to bring in an extra €1.4 million. The council will have a deficit of more than €4 million next year and property tax accounted for 11 per cent of its budget, she said.

Local authorities may vary the basic rate of property tax in their areas by a maximum plus or minus of 15 per cent.

The proposal for a 5 per cent increase in Kerry, the first such rise since the charge was introduced, was put forward by Fianna Fáil councillors.

Appealing for support for a 10 per cent rise, Ms Murrell said since the 2014 Local Government Act, economic and social development was now “a core” activity for local authorities, alongside housing and roads.

Developing

She said the council wanted to spend €600,000 supporting two “not for profit” projects. The council was involved with IT Tralee, Dairymaster and other agri-tech companies in developing a global centre of excellence in agri-tech in Tralee. The second project was a research and development hub with financial services company Fexco in Killorglin, also involving IT Tralee.

Fine Gael supported the 10 per cent increase, but this was defeated. A proposal by Fianna Fáil succeeded, with 14 councillors voting for the 5 per cent increase and 13 against it, with one abstention.