Longford Leader opinion: Property Tax may not be such a bad thing after all

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Local Property Tax

Longford's Property Tax charges could see upwards of €18m come back to the county by way of inward investment

Last week, local councillors voted to keep next year's local property tax rates in line with 2020.

Property tax has long been a bone of contention where the author of this column is concerned especially when faced with a yearly €465 levy.

It's even more relevant when one considers this writer's Cavan roots and fledgling years across the Irish Sea when Poll Tax or Council Tax charges covered your bin collection, library and police and fire service costs.

Of course, comparing one jurisdiction with another is idealistic at best.

Yet, having sat through last week's council meeting where it emerged close to €18m could be set to come Longford's way next year in inward investment and the thoughts of paying €465 a year or less than €9 a week gradually became a lot more palatable to digest.

Local authorities retain the power to vary the rate of local property tax (LPT) by more than the 15% in order to ensure as much, or most, of its revenue streams are retained locally.

Longford has, for the past number of years, cemented its position at the apex of a central equalisation table which divides LPT returns to 20 local authorities nationwide.

In what has become known as the so-called 'Longford Model' other councils have attempted to follow the county's lead by varying their property tax levels upwards in a bid to bankroll local projects.

Next year promises to be little different with up to 100 different applications for funding are either on schedule or expected to be made between now and the end of next year.

Among those include a €14m investment in the development of Longford's Camlin Quarter, €16m for the advancement of the town's former Connolly Barracks alongside six figure funding streams coming via Just Transition, Town and Village Renewal Schemes and CLAR.

Not bad for a county with one of the smallest revenue streams in the country and with possible central government cutbacks on the way in the midst of an unrelenting Covid-19 crisis.

Cavan roots or no Cavan roots, that €9 a week charge doesn't look too bad at all.