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Councillors reject executive’s call for property tax hike


Anton McNulty

COUNCILLORS have rejected a proposal by the executive of Mayo County Council to increase the rate for the Local Property Tax by 15 percent.
The councillors were asked to increase the property tax in order to bridge a €5.1 million deficit in Mayo County Council’s budget.
Director of Finances, Peter Duggan informed the councillors at Monday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council that there would be no increase in the local government fund for 2018, which will remain €19.8 million. An increase in 15 percent in the Local Property Tax he said would generate an additional €1.56 million.
The property tax is based on the value of the property, and a 15 percent increase in the rate would mean householders on the lowest band would pay an additional €13.50; the second band would pay €33.75 and those on the highest band would pay an additional €47.25.
While some councillors rejected the proposal out of hand, Fianna Fáil councillor Al McDonnell said that while he accepted that there was an necessity to balance the budget, he felt a 15 percent increase was too high.
Despite taking over 40 minutes of an adjournment to strike a compromise, they returned to inform the executive that the status quo would remain.
Following the rejection of the increase, Westport-based councillor Brendan Mulroy said that there were 82 repossession cases before the Court in Castlebar that day, and that any increase in the property tax would mean more hardship for people looking to hold onto their homes.
Fine Gael councillor Jarlath Munnelly added that it was time the council went ‘back to basics’ on how it spent their money, even if it meant less spent on ‘vanity projects’.

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