South Dublin County Council has voted to reduce next year's local property tax by 15 per cent.
Councillors voted 36 to one to cut the tax at a meeting yesterday in Tallaght. The vote came after a public consultation process that drew only 21 submissions.
The council estimated the measure would reduce its local property tax income by €4.9 million and put an average of €70 back into people’s pockets. The council will still have about €1.6 million in discretionary funds.
Supporters of the measure said it would not change the level or quality of services the council provides. Supporters also anticipate a positive impact on the local economy.
"It will boost local businesses. The right decision is undoubtedly to reduce taxes," said Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle during the meeting.
There was only one dissenting opinion from Independent councillor Paul Gogarty, who voted against it.
“We have an ambitious plan to increase housing and services in this county. This is our opportunity to do it. Everyone is hard pressed, but all that money isn’t going back into the local economy. We’re making a serious mistake,” he said.
Yesterday’s vote followed a report released by the Government earlier this month showing 10 local authorities would be able to make a full 15 per cent reduction in the amount of local property tax they levy on householders in their jurisdictions next year. All four local authorities in Dublin were among them.
Councillors are allowed to vote on whether to make the reduction under section 20 of the Local Property Tax Act of 2012.
Nineteen other local authorities will not raise enough local property taxes to meet their needs. Those authorities will have their funds topped up by wealthier local authorities in order to maintain essential services. Donegal and Tipperary are set to receive the biggest top-ups from the equalisation fund.
At the meeting, Labour Party councillor Pamela Kearns said: "There are areas of Ireland that have no local property tax and I have no problem supporting them through these extremely hard times."
Several local authorities have voted in favour of local property tax cuts, including Cork County Council, which accepted a 10 per cent tax cut yesterday, and Dublin City.