The local property tax is to increase in Kerry by 5% next year.
The increase will generate an extra €700,000 for Kerry County Council which currently has a budget shortfall of over €4 million.
The decision to increase the local property tax was described by many councillors as difficult, and the council management received criticism from across the political divide.
There were two votes, the first proposed an increase of 10% was rejected, both votes saw splits in Fianna Fáil and Labour.
Interestingly, four Fianna Fáil councillors voted against the 5% increase even though in was proposed by Fianna Fáil’s Michael O’Shea and seconded by Norma Moriarty.
The 5% percent increase passed by the narrowest of margins, 14 councillors voted in favour, 13 voted against, one councillor Mike Kennelly abstained and four Cllrs Niall Kelleher, Sam Locke, Dan McCarthy and Jimmy Moloney were absent.
Kerry County Council had originally sought a 10% increase, which represented a 17 cent a week increase for those with a property in band one, that is a house worth less than €100,000.
This was rejected by 15 votes to 11.
It was proposed by the council executive that the local property tax increase would support two major employment projects for the county – namely an Agri-Tech Centre of Excellence in conjunction IT Tralee and companies including Dairymaster and the second project is a Research and Development Innovation Hub in Killorglin, an application for which has been sought by IT Tralee and Fexco.
Moira Murrell said the Agri-Tech Centre of Excellence which would be based in Kerry will create between 300 and 500 jobs across three regions.