At yesterday’s meeting of Fingal County Council, we voted on the adjustment to the Local Property Tax (LTP) rate. There were two different proposals. One, to reduce it by the full 15% allowable, and the second to reduce it by 10% this year and request that the remaining money be dedicated towards addressing homelessness and community projects.
It was a difficult decision. In the wider context, the sum of money we are talking about – €7.8 million, is relatively small. But with the economy in its present state, even small amounts of money back in peoples pocket makes a difference.
At the same time, money spent by the Council, and targeted at homelessness, something I think most people agree is the biggest challenge we face in the Dublin are, can have a real impact on the most vulnerable in society.
During the Local Election campaign, I did not make any pledges on the Property Tax, as I wanted to see what position Fingal’s budget was in before I made any decision. I wanted to see people get relief in the level of tax they are paying, but also protect some level of investment. That’s why I voted for the 10% cut in the LPT rate, with the remaining €1.9 million being invested in services, particularly homelessness. From my point of view, this was the fairest way to approach the issue.
However, a substantial majority of councillors (31) voted for the full 15% cut, and this was the figure that was passed.