Hike of 2.5% in property tax on way next year

October 6th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Tim Lucey, CEO of Cork County Council, at the first blended meeting in the country. (Photo: John Allen)

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HOMEOWNERS will have to pay more for the Local Property Tax (LPT) next year after a motion to increase it to 7.5.% – an increase of 2.5% from last year – was carried at a meeting of the local authority earlier this week.

This increase means that homeowners with properties valued between €100,000 to €150,000 will have to pay €2.25 more next year, while those who own homes valued over €300,000 will pay €16 extra.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said that they are facing into significant uncertainty in 2021 with potentially reduced income due to Covid-19. He said they are projecting a gap of €19m in the Council’s coffers which already takes in a reduction of 14% across most delivery areas.

Both he and head of finance Lorraine Lynch recommended a 15% increase on the LPT which would bring in almost €4.8m and would go somewhat to solving the Council’s financial position and help maintain the level of services provided over the last few years.

Fianna Fáíl proposed a 5% increase but was defeated with 15 voting for, 23 against and 11 abstaining.

The independent grouping and Labour proposed no increase, but their motion was also defeated by 28 against, 10 for and two abstaining.

Fine Gael, along with the Green Party, sought an increase to 7.5% and their proposal was carried.

Fianna Fáil leader in the Chamber, Seamus McGrath (FF) said the timing of the LPT is ‘nothing short of horrendous’ and that the party was also mindful of the severe impact of Covid-19 on family budgets.

Fine Gael leader in the Chamber, Cllr John Paul O’Shea, called for the end of the equalisation fund which sees 20% of the LPT going out of the county to help other local authorities.

Head of the independent grouping, Cllr Declan Hurley said an increase is still an increase and is ‘still a drain on the general public given the year we’ve had.’

‘There is a lot of domestic debt out there and we don’t want to be adding to that.

‘We, as a grouping, are seeking no change in the base rate and it’s about time the government support one of the biggest local authorities in the country.’

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said the ‘doomsday scenario being painted’ won’t be solved by the LPT increase, which he viewed as a ‘blunt instrument.’

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said he could not in his ‘heart and soul’ ask people to pay more, especially as people have suffered enough due to Covid-19.

‘Go back to your TDs and tell them to get the cheque book out,’ said Cllr Collins.

Mr Lucey told the meeting that ‘any increase is better than none’ and Fine Gael’s motion for an increase to 7.5% was carried.

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