Homelessness services could benefit from property tax

Councillors have been urged to be “mindful” that local homelessness services could benefit from funding from local property tax when agreeing on next year’s rate.

Local authority-elected members have been given the power to decide whether or not to increase or decrease LPT rates by up to 15% for 2016, but must inform the Revenue Commissioners of their intentions by September 30.

The Government has agreed that 80% of LPT will be retained locally to fund public services next year, with the remaining 20% re-distributed to provide top-up funding to local authorities with a lower LPT base.

Alan Kelly, the minister for environment, community and local government, said all local authorities would be funded to their 2015 levels.

Homelessness services could benefit from property tax

Alan Kelly

He said that the measures would provide certainty and balance, as well as giving councillors a greater say in how their authorities are funded.

“While local authority members have full discretion over whether to reduce or increase the local LPT rate, I would ask them to be mindful of certain vital local services that could benefit from that funding, such as homelessness services,” said Mr Kelly.

He said the Government had also provided certainty in relation to top-ups for those local authorities with lower property tax bases.

He said 19 local authorities would benefit from top-ups from the equalisation fund, which was necessary to create a balanced system of funding across local authorities.

The authorities needing equalisation funding, which include Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford, will get a top- up of €108.34m, bringing the total allocation to €220.65m.

Local authorities with property bases with greater values would be provided with extra discretionary income. The allocation for those authorities that include Cork City, Cork County, Kerry, and Clare is €266.56m.

“This will allow local authorities where property tax levels are highest to implement a full 15% reduction of the LPT should the elected members vote for it or, alternatively, to increase the level of public services that they are providing,” said Mr Kelly.

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