Local Property Tax - some homeowners to pay less
Houseowner throughout County Tipperary will, in general, pay the same rate of Local Property Tax in 2022 as they paid this year, while “a substantial” number will pay less than they did in 2021, County Council CEO Joe MacGrath has revealed.
This follows a vote by councillors who adopted a recommendation made by Mr MacGrath at meeting of the council held Friday last.
They voted by 28 votes to 9 in favour of making “a local adjustment” allowed under the levy scheme to increase the tax by 10 per cent above the basic level, just as they did in 2020 when deciding the levy for the current year.
BOOST TO COFFERS
Mr MacGrath said the move would provide for income of an additional €1.2 million into the local authority’s coffers in 2022. Half of this extra income, €600,000, would be allocated to provide Covid support for the continued operation of leisure and art centre around the county, such as Nenagh Arts Centre and Leisure Centre.
Mr MacGrath said that without such funding he could not give a guarantee that these centres could remain operating next year.
He said the remaining €600,000 generated by the council’s decision would be shared out to each of the municipal authorities in the county for spending by councillors on projects in their own areas.
In recent years the scheme had resulted in funding being allocated to Tidy Towns groups, local festivals and renewal projects. Every euro went back into communities and towns and villages benefited.
Mr MacGrath stressed that the vast majority of households will not shoulder any increase in the Local Property Tax as a result of the vote by councillors. On the contrary, a substantial number of households would see a reduction because of changes in the tax bands.
It was also pointed out that the county of Tipperary benefited substantially from the tax as levies paid by householders in more densely populated counties under an “Equalisation fund” was built into the system to support development in rural counties.
Mr MacGrath pointed out to councillors that council coffers would be bolstered to the tune of almost €26 million next year as a result of the tax. That figure is made up of just over €9.6 million from the tax collected in Tipperary and €16.3 million that will come to the county from the tax revenues in more urban dense counties.
Among the nine councillors who voted against the tax recommendation was Sinn Féin’s David Dunne who said it was an unfair burden on householders at a time when one in nine mortgages were in arrears and when the cost of living was rising. He said he wanted to see the tax reverting to the basic level and not having it imposed at 10 per cent above as proposed by the CEO.
Nenagh Cllr Seamus Morris, who voted in favour of the CEO’s recommendation along with his Nenagh colleagues Michael O’ Meara, Fiona Bonfield, Hughie McGrath, Phyll Bugler, John Carroll, Rocky McGrath and Ger Darcy, said the debate the council should really be having was on the dire lack of funding to local authorities by central government, which, he asserted, was the lowest level in the EU.
Cllr Morris said the decision of the Fianna Fáil government to abolish domestic rates in 1977 and other decisions of the Fine Gael/Labour government in 2014 had starved councils of central funds.
However, he said he was in favour of the CEO’s recommendation in relation to the property tax. “The money we got from this has been very well used in the county and I will be supporting the Property Tax this year for the first time.”
Cllr Michael Smith of Roscrea said he was voting in favour because the revenue was going to keep Roscrea Leisure Centre operating next year.
Cllr John Crosse said he could not understand the stance taken by councillors who opposed CEO’s proposal.
“I don't know what land they’re living in,” he said.
“It’s not Ireland - it’s definitely cloud cuckoo land. They should hang their heads in shame here today.”