City councillors set to debate cut in property tax

Cork’s city councillors will meet tonight to debate a possible reduction in the local property tax rate amid stark warnings that a full 15% cut would cost €1.7m and hit services.

City councillors set to debate cut in property tax

The Department of Environment has indicated that the city can afford a 5.4% cut following confirmation that it will get €613,000 more from the tax next year than this year, if the rate remains unchanged.

But the council’s chief executive, Ann Doherty, has told councillors that if the maximum 15% cut is agreed, it will cost €1.7m — or €8.5m over the life of the council — and recommended no change to the rate.

Cork Chamber led calls over the weekend for the rate to remain unchanged.

Its president Gillian Keating called on councillors to “exercise caution”, warning that a full 15% cut will result in the loss of services in an already stretched system.

“A decision to cut the LPT by 15% would deliver only €33.75 over a full year in savings to the average household in Cork City,” she said.

“Even if the city council were to reduce the tax by 5.4%, this would only result in a saving of €12.15 per average household over the year.”

She pointed out that even a 5.4% cut would remove the potential discretionary funding of over €613,000 that could be put to good use improving services.

However, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the city’s three Anti Austerity Alliance councillors said they will be pushing for the maximum cut.

AAA Cllr Mick Barry said they will also fight “tooth and nail” against any attempts to cut council services on foot of a decision to cut the property tax.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Ken O’Flynn, said: “It’s time for us as elected representatives to find alternatives and identify savings elsewhere in the organisation, without cutting services. We have to be far more cost effective in how we do our business.”

But Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer said if the LPT is cut, councillors may have to consider commercial rate hikes or parking charge increases to make up any loss.

Just 21 submissions were made as part of a public consultation process ahead of tonight’s vote — 20 calling for a cut, with 18 calling for the full 15%. Cork Chamber was the only submission calling for no change.

Party whips have also agreed procedures governing the running of tonight’s meeting which will have just one item — to set the LPT.

Ms Doherty will present her report before councillors will be invited to debate the issue — each speaker will have seven minutes to make their case.

The Lord Mayor will then ask councillors to vote on whether the LPT is adjusted.

If they vote no, then the meeting will end with no change to the rate. If they vote yes, then the mayor will invite proposals from the floor, which will be voted on, without speeches, until agreement on an adjustment is reached.

The vote takes place just hours before Revenue’s September 30 deadline for notification by local authority LPT rates adjustments.

Several local authorities voted last week to reduce the rate — Cork County Council cut it by 10%. How it affects you

nThere are 51,300 properties in Cork City liable for the LPT — 13,338 of which are valued at under €100,000. 8,685 of those are council homes. 78% of all the properties are valued at under €200,000, with just over 11,000 valued over this.

The figures show that 78% of home owners would benefit by between 26c and 91c per week from a 15% reduction in the LPT, if it’s agreed this evening.

How a reduction could benefit you:

- Homes in the €0-€100,000 bracket

5.4% cut — 9c a week

15% cut — 26c a week

- Homes in the €250,000-€300,000 bracket

5.4% cut — 51c a week

15% cut — €1.43 a week

- Homes in the €500,000 bracket

5.4% cut — 98c a week

15% cut — €2.73 a week

- Homes in the €950,000-€1m bracket

5.4% cut — €1.82 a week

15% cut — €5.06 a week

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