Kerry county councillors have voted to adjourn a meeting deciding the rate of Local Property Tax for next year.
A special council meeting was held in Rathass, Tralee today.
Under legislation, councillors have the power annually to vary the base LPT rate for the following year by +/-15% or leave the rate unchanged, and the rate for 2022 was 7.5% above the base rate.
Council CEO Moira Murrell asked councillors to consider a 15% increase from the base rate for the next two years.
Moira Murrell told the meeting that the council is facing into a budget deficit of €13 million, with rising costs of energy prices and materials having a significant impact on council finances.
Ms Murrell said projects in towns all over the county which need council funding would have to be scaled back or put to one side completely if the council does not have funding to complete them.
The council’s Head of Finance, Angela McAllen, told the meeting that 49% of homes in Kerry, are in the first band valuation of between €0-200,000.
She said a 15% increase from the base rate next year would be an increase of 26 cent per week for people in that band compared to this year.
Sinn Féin councillor Deirdre Ferris said she would propose a 15% reduction from the base rate of Local Property Tax, because she fundamentally disagrees with a tax on the family home.
Cllr Ferris added central government has strangled local authority funding to the point they rely on homeowners to cover costs.
Several councillors expressed their support to retain this year's LPT rate, which was 7.5% above the base rate.
Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Moriarty said if any councillor thinks that a 26 cent per week increase would make a massive difference to whether households can buy food or not, they are lying to themselves.
Her party colleague, Councillor Michael O’Shea said anyone proposing a 15% reduction from the base rate should have figures on what services would be cut.
Fine Gael councillor Bobby O’Connell proposed that the meeting be adjourned until Wednesday morning, to give Cllr Ferris time to produce these figures.
Cllr Ferris said she had asked the council to provide these figures beforehand, but it had not.
CEO Moira Murrell replied figures were given about a reduction to the base rate, and Cllr Ferris could just double that to see what else would be cut at a reduction of 15% below the base rate.
Cllr O’Connell’s proposal was passed by 16 councillors to 15, although Cllr Ferris indicated she would not be able to attend on Wednesday.
All Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors voted to adjourn the meeting, while all other councillors voted to continue the meeting today.