Louth County Council voted to leave the Local Property Tax unchanged for another year at yesterday’s monthly meeting,
The decision means for the second year in succession, there is no change in the rate of Local Property Tax. That follows reductions of 1.5% in both 2015 and 2014. Monday’s decision means that for 2018, Louth’s LPT rate remains at a national standard.
Councillors have the power to to increase or decrease the tax by 15% either way on an annual basis. Chief Executive Joan Martin recommended that councillors increase the LPT by a minimum 5%, saying the increased revenue – just over €475,000 – would be reinvested to improve services across Louth. Martin felt any increase in revenue from LPT should be spent on local roads.
She said roads had “been particularly badly hit since the onset of the recession.” Martin indicated that if members voted to increase the tax, they should identify the areas they wanted the money to be ringfenced for. Conversely, she said, that if members proposed a cut in the tax, they should indicate what areas of the overall council budget should be cut.
Sin Fein councillors had, as they do annually, proposed a 15% reduction in the LPT, but that was rejected with party councillors eventually voting for no change in the rate. Dolores Minogue was among the councillors – the only one from the Ardee and Mid-Louth area – to support Martin’s recommendation of a 5% increase.
She told ThisIsArdee.ie on Tuesday that she feels the extra funding could have gone towards improving roads locally. “The chief executive suggested it be put up by 5% and then the money be ring-fenced for roads. Then, we discussed which roads. I wanted tertiary roads done and then the likes of Cherrybrook and housing estates.”
Minogue said that she wanted guarantees that roads needing work around Ardee wouldn’t be overlooked in favour of roads that might be in a worse condition elsewhere in the county. “My argument was I wouldn’t want the LPT put up by 5% if we weren’t going to get something back.”
A 5% increase would have meant households would have been charged anywhere between 9c and 48c more per week in 2018, amounting to €4.50 or €24.75 annually, depending on the value of the property. Sinn Fein’s proposal to decrease the tax by 15% would have saved households anywhere between €0.26 and €1.43 weekly (€13.50 and and €74.25 annually).
Louth County Council brings in around €7.2 million annually, from around 48,000 homes in the county. The Green Party’s Marianne Butler had motioned for a 15% increase to be put towards social housing while Fine Gael were in favour of the 5% increase and Sinn Fein wanted the 15% decrease. Eventually, it was voted that the rate should be left alone for another year following a motion from Labour’s Pio Smith.
“I supported the 5% increase”, Minogue continued. “I feel people living on tertiary roads are neglected and it was one way of getting their roads fixed. The N2 will be upgraded and I’m delighted with that but here’s how we can help local people.”
Independent councillor Jim Tenanty seconded Smith’s motion to leave the rate as it is.