At Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s first monthly meeting after the summer, the council voted to reduce the Local Property Tax (LPT) by the maximum amount of 15%.
Every year, each local authority in the country can vote on if they wish to reduce or raise the LPT and by how much.
Since it was introduced in 2014, DLRCoCo has voted to reduce the tax every year by 15% – the maximum amount allowed.
At the meeting, People Before Profit (PBP) councillors, Hugh Lewis and Melisa Halpin tabled a motion to abolish the property tax completely with Cllr. Lewis saying: “The LPT is a regressive tax that takes absolutely no consideration of income or personal wealth and has resulted in less funds being available to fund local services.
“We cannot continue as public representatives to tax low income families whilst simultaneously accepting less funding for the operations of our councils.”
However, PBP’s motion was rejected by the council and instead voted to reduce the tax.
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan says that she “welcomes the news” of the tax reduction.
The vote was supported by all parties with Fianna Fail councillor, Donal Smith telling Dublin Gazette: “Fianna Fail Councillors strongly made the point that homeowners in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown already pay among the highest LPT in the country and that the tax is very unfair as currently structured because it takes no account of a person’s ability to pay.
“LPT is not a progressive tax. The Government has consistently failed to reform the tax and continues to kick the can down the road.”
The council also heard that it’s budget for 2020 will potentially be restricted due to numerous internal and external issues.
These include a dip in income sourced from planning activities, a reduction in the rates received from Irish Water, an increase in the county council’s payroll costs and the growing cost of maintaining Dun Laoghaire Harbour – which transferred to county council ownership last year.
The Department of Transport authorised the transfer of the harbour in 2018 but also the debts that it has occurred – roughly €33.5m.
“I’m extremely disappointed with Minister Ross and his handling of the Harbour,” says Labour councillor Lettie McCarthy.
At the time of the transfer, Fine Gael councillor Barry Ward said that he was disappointed that “absolutely no financial provision” had been made for the handover of the harbour.
Minister Ross had not replied for comment by the time of publication.