Council to sanction three per cent property tax cut

Council to sanction three per cent property tax cut
Homeowners will have an extra €2.70 in their pockets at the end of each year when property tax bills start filing through their front doors from next January.

Homeowners will have an extra €2.70 in their pockets at the end of each year when property tax bills start filing through their front doors from next January.

The reduction which equates to a three per cent cut, or €66,000 from Longford County Council’s projected revenue streams next year, was signed off on at a meeting last Wednesday.

In a further conciliatory move, councillors agreed to implement additional three per cent reductions for each consecutive year between now and 2019.

The measure was agreed after Fine Gael representatives, led by Cllr Micheal Carrigy called for a brief five minute adjournment in an attempt to reach some kind of consensus.

While those talks continued, Cathaoirleach Cllr Mark Casey could be seen engaged in deep conversation with CEO Tim Caffrey, Head of Finance Barry Lynch and Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus Butler.

When the eight Fine Gael members eventually returned it was Cllr Carrigy’s proposal to impose a three per cent reduction which secured the unanimous backing of councillors.

“I do think it is incumbent on us to give something back to the taxpayer,” he said, while stressing the importance that everyday council services were maintained.

Cllr Butler said he felt obligated to support the recommendation even if it had effectively tied the hands of council members.

“We have been left in a very invidiuous position,” he stormed.

What appeared to annoy the Longford businessman was the ability of some local authorities to sanction full 15 per cent reductions in contrast to smaller, less profitable counties like Longford.

“The last time I checked, we were a republic where all citizens were treated the same.

“It galls me that there are people living in leafy Dublin who can get a 15 per cent reduction and yet the people of Longford who don’t have the same level of infrastructure are being asked to pay again,” he said.

The former Chamber of Commerce president was not alone in raising his misgivings about the anticipated savings householders were in line to make over the next 12 months.

Cllr Martin Mulleady, also of Fianna Fail, branded the reduction as little more than “peanuts,” an opinion which was shared by Fine Gael Cllr John Browne.

“Sure you wouldn’t buy three bags of Tayto with that (€2.70),” he remarked.

“We (council) mightn’t as well do it at all. It’s an insult to the people.”