Council chief executive calls for property tax increase ahead of special meeting

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Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

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news@carlowlive.ie

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Chief executive of Carlow County Council, Kathleen Holohan

Carlow County Council chief executive, Kathleen Holohan, has called on local representatives to increase Local Property Tax (LPT) by 15% ahead of a special meeting on Monday. 

The special meeting of Carlow County Council will be held on Monday, September 23 in the Council Chamber to set a Local Adjustment Factor in accordance with the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012.

Homeowners in Kilkenny are facing a 15% hike in the amount of property tax they pay, following a majority decision by councillors this week. 

Local representatives make the decision to maintain, decrease, or increase the LPT each year ahead of the annual Council budget.

In the previous years since the tax was introduced, the members in Carlow have opted not to vary it, despite the exhortations of the executive.

Members can increase anything up to 15% - the maximum increase permissable.

In a letter to Carlow members ahead of the meeting, Ms Holohan said if "members decide not to increase the Local Property Tax in 2020 the current level of services will be affected".

She recommended "that Council gives serious consideration to increasing Local Property Tax income in 2020 by adjusting the basic rate upwards by 15%".

Ms Holohan said: "The basic rate of Local Property Tax has not been varied in Carlow since its inception while adjoining counties have applied increases of 10%.

"Additional funding is required in Carlow across all services. The public realm and the overall presentation of the county need enhancing in order to attract outside investment with a particular emphasis on litter management/street cleaning, maintenance of parks/open spaces. 

"In the absence of an increase in Commercial Rates the remaining significant source of additional discretionary income in 2020 is an increase in Local Property Tax. 

"If the members decide not to increase the Local Property Tax in 2020 the current level of services will be affected.

"If the members decide to reduce Local Property Tax in 2020, then the current level of services will be significantly reduced and any future assistance from Central Government is unlikely."

"As noted earlier in this report in Carlow 94% of relevant properties fall into the lowest three tax bands and the impact of an increase or reduction in the Local Property Tax is relatively minor on the individual.

"The members are well aware of the demands for enhanced services in the county and despite the unprecedented financial constraints of recent years the Council has endeavoured to maintain reasonable standards but as costs increase it is becoming more difficult to maintain those standards.

"The cumulative effect of any reduction in the Local Property Tax will severely impact on the Council’s ability to deliver existing levels of services to the public in 2020. 

"Accordingly, I recommend that Council gives serious consideration to increasing Local Property Tax income in 2020 by adjusting the basic rate upwards by 15%."