Councillors warned of City Hall funding shortfall before voting for 7.5% property tax increase

Councillors warned of City Hall funding shortfall before voting for 7.5% property tax increase

CORK City Councillors have voted to increase people's property tax payments by 7.5% next year.

This is the first time city councillors have voted to increase local property tax (LPT).

The increase was passed by a 22-7 majority of councillors.

Councillors had the option to increase or decrease the tax by 15%.

Councillors were issued with a report by Chief Executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty prior to the meeting, in which she recommended a 15% increase on LPT.

"If an increase of +15% is not passed, Cork City Council will have a funding shortfall in the region of €3m which will have a significant impact on the delivery of services for 2021," she said.

Cork City Council invited written submissions from the public on the matter specifically covering the potential effects of varying the basic rate of the Local Property Tax on businesses, individuals and on local authority services. 

No submissions were received.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Green Party councillors all voted in favour of an increase, whilst Sinn Féin and the Workers’ Party were against an increase.

Councillor Des Cahill (FG) said the LPT decision is "one of the most difficult decisions that faces councillors each and every year".

Councillor Sean Martin said Fianna Fáil would be supporting a "modest increase" to LPT.

"I can’t stand over no arts grants, no sports grants, no footpath renewal, no estate resurfacing – it’s just not on," he said.

Green Party councillor Colette Finn said the Greens were also in favour of increasing LPT.

"We think cuts to public services will disproportionality impact poorer families and therefore, even though homeowners will have to pay a little more, we think we will get more from the reduction in the cuts to services which otherwise would have to occur," she said.

Sinn Féin’s Mick Nugent said that although the party acknowledges that Cork City Council is in "dire straits" they would not support an increase to LPT, stating that "now is not the time".

Councillor Nugent, along with a number of other councillors called for support from central government to help plug a €4m hole in the city's finances caused by the pandemic.

Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn was also amongst the councillors who opposed an increase.

Following the increase, for properties up to €100,000 there will be an increased annual payment of €6.75 whilst at the top bracket, for properties valued up to €1m, homeowners will be paying €131.63 extra a year.

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