Tipperary County Council this week voted overwhelmingly to maintain the Local Property Tax rate at its current level. All local authorities were given the choice by the Government to cut the tax by as much as 15 per cent. A full rate cut would leave the council E1.836m short, councillors were told.
Council finance officer Liam McCarthy told councillors in Nenagh this Monday that services would suffer if the tax was reduced as the council was the the second highest beneficiary from the new local goverment equalisation fund under which councils who have a surplus share funding with councils that can’t finance themselves. Tipperary got E9.8m from the LPT with a further E12.96m coming through equalisation. Only Donegal got a higher amount.
Councillors were told that because of the make up of property valuations in the county, a 15 per cent cut would only amount to a maximum saving of 58 cent per week for some householders.
The decision not to cut the LPT was proposed by Cllr John Hogan who described it as a “no-brainer”. He said 58 cent was not a lot to pay for fire services, housing repairs and temporary staff.
However, Cllr Martin Browne said that 58 cent was a lot of money to the families he represented.
Cllr Seamus Hanafin, while agreeing with Cllr Seamus Morris that it was a pity the issue was being discussed before the council had next year’s allocation, said: “People say they want money spent on services”.
The breakdown of those for and against more or less broadly mirrored the political alliance on the council, with FG, FF and Labour in support of maintaining the status quo and Sinn Fein and some Independents seeking a reduction.
Cllr Hogan’s proposal was accepted by 30 votes to 10, with the five SF councillors - Seamus Morris, David Doran, Catherine Carey, David Dunne, Martin Browne, along with councillors Micheal Lowry, Jim Ryan, Pat English and Michael O’Meara voting against. Cllr John Fahey was not present.