herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

City chief Owen Keegan to collide with councillors over cut of just 5pc to property tax

Owen Keegan to collide with councillors over cut of just 5pc to property tax
Owen Keegan to collide with councillors over cut of just 5pc to property tax

Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan has proposed a cut to the local property tax of only 5pc in a move that will see him collide with councillors.

Mr Keegan last week sent a report to all city councillors, asking them to give "consideration" to a decrease of 5pc of the tax.

However, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein have all committed to cutting the basic rate by 15pc.

saving

Dublin City Council is one of 10 local authorities identified as being financially capable of slashing property tax bills by 15pc next year because of the number of people living within the authority area.

A 5pc reduction will result in a saving of just over €20 for owners of homes valued in the region of €230,000.

A special meeting will take place today when Mr Keegan's plan will be discussed.

Under legislation, the basic tax rate can be moved up or down by 15pc, so his proposal would see the option played out over three years.

Mr Keegan also warned of a "sharp increase" in the tax in 2017 with rising house prices.

He pointed to the 21.9pc increase in the price of residential homes in Dublin between May 2013 and June this year.

He said that based on current trends, there is "likely to be a significant increase in valuations relating to Dublin residential properties" in the coming years. Mr Keegan warned that the council could be left with a €41m shortfall in a worst-case scenario next year.

He expressed concern at the increasing cost of dealing with the capital's homelessness crisis and refurbishing local authority housing stock.

Dublin City Council carried out a survey of almost 900 people and asked about their views on the property tax issue.

A total of 95pc of respondents said they did not want to see an increase in the basic rate of property tax.

clarity

Only 24 people who were asked said they would be in favour of an increase of between 11pc and 15pc.

And 97.1pc of the 899 people surveyed "wished for the basic rate of the Local Property Tax to be reduced".

In the report issued to councillors, Mr Keegan also referred to providing homeless services.

In the draft budget strategy that he will submit to the Minister for the Environment, Mr Keegan points to the "absence of clarity on the provision of funding for homeless services".

jfegan@herald.ie

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