KILDARE County Council has voted to keep its Local Property Tax at the same rate for 2019.
It cut the base rate four years ago by 7.5% bringing in €3.25m for local projects annually. Last week members voted 27 in favour and nine against making no change after a proposal by independents to increase it by 2% was voted down.
Members were told that an increase of 1% on the rate would mean an additional €4.05 per household but an extra €216,000 on the income. LPT funds are the only funds that are spent on local projects chosen by local councillors.
Chief executive Peter Carey urged the members, at minimum, not to make any change as the money represents real local discretion.
“It takes a number of years to see examples of this and you all have an example now in your own area. The money goes on public realm plans and I would strongly recommend no decrease,” he said.
On behalf of the independents Cllr Padraig McEvoy proposed a 2% increase. The additional €8 expenditure per household would bring in an extra €400,000 for local projects.
“In would bring an increased quality of life,” he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Cllr Rob Power proposed to leave the tax unchanged.
“I think we’ve proven over the last few years that we can do it well without substantially altering it,” he said.
Cllr Seamie Moore said he was disappointed as Naas had to use their LPT money to underground cables in the town while other areas had the work carried out with council funds. He proposed that guidelines are put in place.
Cllr Mark Lynch agreed and seconded this proposal.
“We are picking and choosing groups at will,” he said.
Cllr Joanne Pender said the LPT is a regressive taxation and said it is criminal the percentage of the fund that goes to the Central Bank.
Cllr Ivan Keatley supported the proposal for a rise and suggested the money be used to leverage a new €4bn schmeme announced as part of Project Ireland 2040.
“It would be a 16 cent a week rise that would leverage our share in the scheme,” he said. “This is an opportunity to get some serious funding for the benefit of the county.”
Cllr Brendan Young said the burden is increasingly on low income people and he called for a reduction.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy said that while the members think they are doing a good job with the money, they can’t know if they are having the maximum impact.