Cllr Gerard Farrell (FG) called for the 3% reduction in the Local Property Tax (LPT) to be removed during a meeting of Ballymahon Municipal District’s Discretionary Budget allocation last week.
The local area representative in Lanesboro, who along with his party colleagues seconded the initial proposal by Fianna Fáil to reduce the LPT in Longford just 12 months ago, was told that the meeting was not the place to air his grievance over the matter.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mark Casey (IND) told Cllr Farrell (FG) to take the matter up with the local Fine Gael group, whom he added, “agreed with the proposal to reduce the LPT not 12 months ago”.
He added, “Cllr Farrell, this is not the forum for your arguments on the LPT; if you have an issue with it go back to your party.
“You were quick to agree with your party colleagues to bring it in when it was proposed.”
Speaking to the Leader afterwards, Cllr Farrell said that he now had an issue with the deduction because it has resulted in a €63,000 deficit in discretionary budget funding across the three Co Longford Municipal Districts.
The meeting also heard that Dublin City Council and Longford Co Council were the only two local authorities in the country that allowed for the implementation of a reduction in the LPT.
“I have an issue with the reduction because we are losing so much money from our municipal budgets as a result,” he added.
“The amount of work that is carried out in our communities and the amount of work that is done is so important; therefore it is vital that all those community initiatives are given as much money as is possible so that they can continue to do the work that they are doing.”
Cllr Farrell then alluded to the unprecedented success of the recently held Taste of the Lakelands Food Festival in Lanesboro which ran in conjunction with an international fishing competition in the area.
“That festival was allocated €9,000 from our budget and it was a fantastic success, so it just proved what can be done with funding allocations from our budgets,” the local area representative added.
“The Leinster Fleadh is coming to Ballymahon next year and this will be supported by Longford Co Council; it is initiatives like this that can be done if discretionary funds from municipal district budgets are made available.”
Cllr Farrell went on to say that as far as he was concerned the more money that was in the pot, the more that could be done in the community.
“That 3% reduction equates to a saving of just €2.70 to a household - when you equate that to the loss in funding for the municipal districts, it just does not compare.
“It no longer makes economical sense and it needs to be looked at again.”