A MOVE by the councillors of the Kildare/Newbridge Municipal District (KNMD) to change the allocation of the local property tax (LPT) to a per capita distribution will be brought before the next council, despite strong opposition from the more sparse municipalities.
“Do we get to keep all the Intel rates in a three-seater (? Of course we don’t,” Kilcock Cllr Joe Neville reasonably argued.
“We think we should share Intel rates with the rest of the county. It not good pitting different parts of Kildare against each other like this,’ he added.
He was joined in this argument by Cllr Brendan Young.
“You could have relatively higher burdens here depending on luck or geography. The whole thing is problematic,’ said Cllr Young.
“This isn’t based on an ability to pay, it’s simply a tax on the home. Collection is based on where you bought, and when you bought,” he added.
Technically, the motion from the KNMD meeting a fortnight ago was to “put forward a range of options that can be considered to improve the equity of the LPT” but the thrust of their motion was quite obvious.
It was led again by Cllr Morgan McCabe who pointed out his MD was bigger than the population of three counties – Longford, Monaghan and Carlow.
“We have a population of 61,000 constituents, 11 members and are looking at a significant increase in population,” he told the chamber.
Curiously, first contradiction came from his MD associate, Cllr Suzanne Doyle.
“I’ve always believed it should be divided five ways,” she said.
“We should have equality between our MDs, whether they be five-seaters or 11-seaters.
“We should go to national Government to get extra funds, or we’ll have democratic inequality as well,” she stated.
Naas-based councillor Sorcha O’Neill pointed out that a vast amount of the LPT comes from properties worth less than €250,000.
“It’s very complex…and pointless discussing it here, lads,” she added.
Cllr Ivan Keatley fom Athy was next to voice agreement with his predecessor.
“I don’t want change. I don’t agree it’s a mess. It was a mess eight years ago when we didn’t have discretionary funds having to think about whether we kept the Fire Service or not,” he pointed out.
“I don’t take a ‘per-head-of-population’ view,” he said, but to no avail, and the motion was passed.
“Well, that’s more work for you, Fiona,” joked Cllr Joanne Pender with the Finance Department’s representative on the top table, acting head Fiona Millane.
Ms Millane confirmed her department were looking at a number of options to be brought before the Finance Committee, and expected its recommendations “to be brought before the new council in June or July”.