Kerry County Council proposes 13% increase in property tax base rate

Kerry councillors are currently considering how much people in the county will pay in Local Property Tax next year.

Under legislation, councillors have the power annually to vary the base LPT rate for the following year by +/-15% or leave the rate unchanged.

Chief Executive of Kerry County Council Moira Murrell told councillors at the special meeting that she was seeking a 13% increase in the base rate for the Local Property Tax.

She said there is a lack of buoyancy in council finances due to increased payroll and pensions, operational costs and capital projects and the proposal would raise over €1.8 million for the council.

Ms Murrell said the money would be used across a range of areas including developing greenways, more enforcement on hedge cutting, improving footpaths, public lighting and tackling Japanese Knotweed.

Kerry County Council Financial Officer, Angela McAllen said the LPT is a critical source of income for all services.

Five submissions were received from members of the public pointing to stamp duty, Brexit uncertainty and a lack of local services; none supported an increase.

Several councillors are calling for more detail in how exactly the extra money would be spent.

Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae says people feel they get very little for the tax and the proposed 13% increase is savage.

The meeting comes ahead of the draft budget meeting for the council on October 25th; the council is currently facing an almost €5 million shortfall.