Thursday 27 October 2016

Families set to benefit as Fingal Council cuts property tax again

Chief executive Paul Reid
Chief executive Paul Reid

Home owners in the Fingal area will again enjoy a saving of 15pc on their property tax next year after the local council voted to reduce the basic rate of the controversial charge.

Businesses are also set to benefit as the council decided to freeze the level of commercial rates.

This decision on property tax will see the council forego increased revenues of up to €5.6m but it is confident it will balance its books this year.

The improvement in the economy and in particular, the strength of commercial development in Fingal has facilitated a budget of €214m which should provide for an increase in services while reducing the tax burden on the public.

The revised budget for 2015 indicates expenditure in the current year of €212m.

The decision by councillors to adopt the budget and reduce the basic rate of Local Property Tax (LPT) will ensure that property owners do not face significant increases in their 2016 bills.


In effect, it means they will be paying the same basic rate as this year, which is 15pc less than last year.

"Each year the basic rate gets set back to the 2014 level and the council votes on what changes to make to it," a spokesperson explained.

"This year it was voted to bring it down 15pc, and next year the same saving will apply so the charges will in effect be frozen at 2015 levels," the spokesperson added.

This leaves council discretionary LPT income at €2.4m and reduces the charge which was due to be paid by property owners in the County by €5.6m.

The Annual Rate of Valuation, which decides the level of commercial rates paid by business, has also been frozen by the council - the fourth year in a row this has happened.

According to a council spokesman this means the business community has seen its contribution reduced by €105 million in the period from 2010 to 2015.

"Fingal is in an exciting phase of development. As our national economy recovers, Fingal more than any other county is positioned to be the engine of growth," said chief executive Paul Reid.

Among the headline areas of expenditure in the coming year will be €10.6m to be spent on maintenance and improvement of local authority housing; €16.8m on the rental accommodation scheme; €14.5m on regional and local road maintenance and improvement; €4.8m on public lighting; and €300,000 for flood defence.

The budget for 2016 sees a marginal increase in staff costs which are down by 25pc on 2008 levels.

The increase for 2016 relates to recruitment of new staff in some key areas of operations - the first recruitment to take place in seven years.

Fingal has a population of 273,991 according to the 2011 census, making it the third most populous local authority area in the country.

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