Homes in Cork county to pay 5% property tax hike

Householders living in Co Cork will pay an extra 5% on their Local Property Tax (LTP) bill next year.

The move comes after councillors voted 32-15 to increase the tax in the wake of concerns a larger cut would affect council services.

Nearly 80% of home in the county, however, are in the property tax valuation bands of €200,000 or less.

For those living in an average three-bed semi detached house worth between €150,000 and €200,000, the charge in 2016 will be €299, up €16.

Councillors cut the LPT last year by 10% following a motion from Fianna Fáil. The party had proposed retaining the 10% cut for 2016, but failed to get support yesterday in County Hall.

Fine Gael proposed the 10% reduction be scrapped altogether. Independents sought a 5% cut, while Sinn Féin demanded a 15% cut.

At the outset of the meeting, county council chief executive Tim Lucey said the 10% cut had cost the council €4.2m, last year, and warned there “would be significant implications on the delivery of services if a 15% cut was introduced”.

Mr Lucey said that if the cut was scrapped altogether, as Fine Gael proposed, it would allow the council to invest an additional €3m in services.

Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy said he and his party colleagues would love to be in a position to reduce the LPT but were concerned about being able to provide proper public services.

“A 5% reduction would give back one cent per day to the average householder,” he said. “The wealthy with a €1m home would get back 22 cents per day. We’d be looking after the wealthy much more than those who need it. The money is needed for services.”

Party colleague Gerard Murphy suggested any savings from the LPT should be used for a comprehensive hedge-cutting programme throughout the county.

Seamus McGrath, leader of Fianna Fáil on the council, said “people were very sore about the LPT”. He said he and his colleagues were “absolutely furious with Government” for reducing, for 2016, the percentage of property tax the county council receives. “It adds insult to injury,” he said.

Councillor Declan Hurley, for the Independents’ group, said that the Government shrugged its responsibility to local authorities by using the LPT to prop up services instead of providing money for them itself.

The first vote was on the 10% cut and was defeated by 28 to 13, with eight abstentions.

The second vote for the 15% reduction was also defeated by 28 to 21.

The third vote on the 5% cut was passed by 32 to 15 and therefore there was no need for the vote on no reduction.

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