Kerry County Council has voted to maintain the local property tax in 2016 at 2015 levels.
Councillors have agreed to retain the rate – despite a proposal from Sinn Féin to have it reduced by 15 percent for a second year running.
CEO Moira Murrell said she couldn’t sanction a 15% reduction which would equate to a 2 million euro reduction in the council’s income.Councillors have the power to increase or decrease the property tax rate in their counties by 15 percent.
The council’s chief financial officer says the council is currently looking at a 3.5 million euro gap in its finances, despite this Angela McAllen told a meeting of the local authority it is in a sound financial position but is always vulnerable to external shocks.
Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell told the meeting a reduction of even 1% in the local property tax would mean a reduction of €138,000 to the council and would only be a saving of 90 cents per annum per household for the lowest valuation band.There were three submissions made to the council in relation to the tax.
One was from a commercial body suggesting any discretionary reduction should not be to the detriment of business interests or job creation.The other two submissions were from individuals, one was a query in relation to liability and valuation on a specific property, the other suggested the tax should be retained.
Councillors from the South and West Municipal District argued for more fairness in the division of discretionary community funding this year. 80% of monies collected through the local property tax stays in Kerry, while 20% goes to an equalisation fund to help other counties that don’t have the same property portfolio.