Limerick councillors vote to reduce Local Property Tax for 2018

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

In a surprise move at a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council this Thursday, the Fine Gael proposal to increase the tax by 7.5% above 2014’s base rate was passed

In a surprise move at a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council this Thursday, the Fine Gael proposal to increase the tax by 7.5% above 2014’s base rate was passed (File Picture)

HOUSEHOLDERS in Limerick will see a drop in Local Property Tax next year after a vote this Thursday.

In a surprise move at a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council this Thursday, the Fine Gael proposal to increase the tax by 7.5% above 2014’s base rate – but down from last year’s 10% increase – was passed by 17 votes to 11. 

In real terms, this will mean that next year’s tax bill for householders will actually be lower than the tax for 2017, which was 10% above the nationally set flat rate. The rate automatically returns to 2014 levels each year.

Just five Fianna Fail councillors were in the chamber when the vote was taken this Thursday.

On Monday, Fianna Fail’s proposal to freeze the tax at 2014 levels led to a long-drawn out and argumentative debate. In particular, the proposal drew the ire of Fine Gael who believed they had a pact with Fianna Fail to increase the tax by 10% each year until the end of the lifetime of the council. 

The increase was passed with the support of the Fine Gael councillors and four independents, Cllrs Emmett O’Brien, Brigid Teafey, Richard O'Donoghue and Lisa Marie Sheehy. 

Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and two Independents voted against. Solidarity’s two councillors were not in the chamber when their names were called for the vote. 

For householders on the lowest rate, i.e. houses valued at up to €100,000, the increase will amount to €6.75. Instead of paying the flat rate of €90 they will have to pay €96.75. In 2017, householders in this band paid €99.

For houses valued at €100,000-150,000, the bill will be €241.87; for houses valued at €150-200,000, the tax will be €338.62 and for houses valued at €200-250,000 the tax bill will be €435.375. 

According to acting head of finance, Sean Coughlan, 88% of householders in Limerick fall into the first three bands. 

A council spokesperson said that, as a result of the vote, an additional €1.17 million would be made available for Limerick City and County Council to spend on communities across Limerick.

“This will be used to maintain local services while the council will further look to achieve cost efficiencies across the local authority to continue to provide the best service possible to the citizens of Limerick,” added the spokesperson.

The rift between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail over the Local Property Tax had threatened to escalate into a complete breakdown after Monday's bruising meeting where Fianna Fail opposed the Fine Gael proposal to increase the tax by 10% and argued instead the tax should be frozen at the 2014 level.

Both proposals, along with a Sinn Fein proposal to reduce the tax by 15%, failed to get a majority at the meeting and councillors had to return to the council chamber this Thursday for another shot at it.