Council votes to reduce Local Property Tax 15%

by Ian Begley

THE council have voted to reduce next year’s Local Property Tax (LPT) by 15%, becoming the third local authority in Dublin to do so.
34 councillors voted in favour of reducing the rate, with just Lucan Cllr Paul Gogarty (Ind) voting against.
This is the second time the council voted to reduce the LPT by 15%, which will remain the same for local residents in 2016.
Speaking at the South County Dublin Area Committee meeting, Cllr William Lavelle (FG) said: “South Dublin County Council has budgeted for revenue of €220m this year. This is a massive budget. We don’t need to be adding to it by hitting homeowners with more taxes when we have the option not to.
“If councillors such as Paul Gogarty want to see more services delivered then he should be proposing how we can better manage the €220m budget, not trying to fleece homeowners.
“We saw the impact of reckless, tax-and-spend policies during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years. We should have learned from those mistakes. The mind-set of ‘when we have it we’ll spend it’ should be consigned to history. The Independents may wish to raise taxes. Fine Gael will not,” he said.
Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind), who also voted to reduce the LPT, said he believes the tax is unfair and unjust.
“I believe this is an unfair and unjust tax, which I remain opposed to. I voted to cut the LPT by 15% as we have hard-pressed families struggling and while their savings aren’t very much every cent counts. Families are making choices of paying their mortgages or eating food. With this small gesture I hope it will be seen as a small step in trying to help these families,” he said.
Cllr Paul Gogarty argued that voting to reduce the property tax is a “missed opportunity for short-term electoral gain.
Speaking to The Gazette after the vote, he said: “This decision is yet another regressive decision that will result in local services and facilities continuing to be curtailed from the cutbacks that have taken place over the last five years. Councillors had the opportunity to increase funding but instead appear to have been influenced by either ideological considerations or an attempt to be populist with the general election fast approaching.
“As a result, South Dublin will this year miss out on an extra €4.6m worth of funding that could be used for playgrounds, traffic management, estate management, community facilities and further our commitments to tackle homelessness and the housing crisis. Yet some of those very councillors who turned down the opportunity to obtain more funding are the ones who constantly bemoan the lack of council spending on such community amenities.”

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