Tie breaker vote means Local Property Tax in Kerry returns to base rates

The Local Property Tax in Kerry will return to base rates for 2019 following a vote that needed a tie breaker at a special meeting of councillors.

The tax is based on property values from May 2013 and is self-assessed.

Under legislation local authorities can increase or decrease the basic rate of LPT by 15% or leave it unchanged.

The Local Property Tax made up over 14.4 million euro or 11% of Kerry County Council’s income in 2018 and was used across all divisions for services and projects.

Almost half of Kerry County Council’s budget is spent on payroll, including pensions.

Last year, Kerry County Council approved a 5% increase in the basic rate and today Chief Executive Moira Murrell recommended maintaining the 2018 rate for the coming year.

Ms Murrell said there is a 3.4-million-euro gap in council funds currently and maintaining the 5% increase in the rate would see that gap fall to 2.7 million.

There were just four public submissions on the tax received by the council; the majority called for a reduction in the basic rate and another called for an age-related allowance based on economic circumstances.

Three councillors were absent and there was a tie with 15 councillors each voting for and against the proposal.

The casting vote, as per local authority rules, fell to Cathaoirleach Norma Foley who voted against meaning the local property tax for 2019 will return to the base rate.
How Kerry County Councillors voted:

15 – for
15 against
3 absent

Tom Barry (Sinn Fein) – absent
Robert Beasley (Sinn Fein) – against
Michael Cahill (Fianna Fail) – against
Patrick Connor-Scarteen (Fine Gael) – for
Brendan Cronin (Independent) – against
John Joe Culloty (Fianna Fail) – against
Pa Daly (Sinn Fein) – against
Seamus Cosai Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) -absent
Jim Finucane (Fine Gael) – for
Norma Foley (Fianna Fail) – against
John Francis Flynn (Fianna Fail) – against
Toireasa Ferris (Sinn Fein) – against
Johnny Healy-Rae (Independent) – against
Maura Healy-Rae (Independent) – against
Donal Grady (Independent) – for
Sam Locke (Independent) -absent
Michael Gleeson (Kerry Independent Alliance) – for
Michael Kennelly (Fine Gael) – for
John Lucid (Fianna Fail) – for
Thomas McEllistrim (Fianna Fail) – against
Niall Kelleher (Fianna Fail) – against
Dan McCarthy (Independent) – for
Pat McCarthy (Fine Gael) – for
Jimmy Moloney (Fianna Fail) – for
Norma Moriarty (Fianna Fail) – against
Terry O’Brien (Labour) – for
Bobby O’Connell (Fine Gael) – for
Michael O’Shea (Fianna Fail) – against
Liam Purtill (Fine Gael) – for
Damian Quigg (Sinn Fein) – against
John Sheahan (Fine Gael) – for
Graham Spring (Labour) – for
Aoife Thornton (Fine Gael) – for