CRITICISMS Cllr Peter Flynn argued that Mayo County Council are not providing a good enough service to justify retaining the Local Property Tax at its current rate.
Fianna Fáil and Independent coalition shoot down Fine Gael proposal
A PROPOSAL by Fine Gael to decrease the rate of the Local Property Tax by 15 percent was defeated after it was voted down by Fianna Fáil and some Independent councillors.
Westport-based Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn had proposed a 15 percent reduction in the base rate of the Local Property Tax for 2023, stating that people facing uncertainty needed some hope.
“We are in precedented times and in all the years I have been coming in here I don’t think I have ever faced a winter of such uncertainty. That is saying a lot having come through Covid and Brexit and the bankruptcy of this country but we were never in a situation if people did not know if they would have electricity on in their houses and if people could afford to pay their heating bills,” he said at yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.
Two years ago, Fine Gael and a minority of Fianna Fáil councillors voted to increase the LPT by 10 percent in order to provide funding for capital projects and to fund hedgecutting.
Cllr Flynn told the meeting that at the time they were criticised for doing so but they did so on the basis it was the mature thing to do to support the new management of the council. However he felt that the council executive have not provided the services councillors had hoped for.
“Have we seen any dramatic changes in service? I honestly can’t say we have seen it in west Mayo. We are struggling and I cannot say the level of service has improved,” he said.
The Westport councillor added that he believed that with increased energy costs and a higher pay scale to pay for, the council will have a €10 million deficit in 2023 and a reduced LPT will not mean a lot.
“While every million does count, it isn’t the be all and end all and now is the time to give a positive feeling to the people of Mayo. We understand the fears you are facing and the challenges you are facing in terms of finances but we need to try to show we are helping, no matter how small. It might be only €1 a week and while that is small for people in here it may matter for some other house around the county and we must keep that in mind,” he said.
Earlier in the meeting, Peter Duggan, the head of Finance stated that due to changes in the valuation band, 63.5 percent of households in Mayo will now pay the lower band rate. He recommended that the change for LPT should remain at the current 2022 rate for the years 2023 and 2024.
Fianna Fáil whip, Cllr Damien Ryan said with a ‘heavy heart’ he was proposing the recommendation of Mr Duggan in order for the council to continue to fund projects and services in the county.
“The money that has come from this and the discretionary spending we have cannot be underestimated and the GMA is one thing that has delivered for communities across this county. What that money did for communities was appreciated and well received and I don’t want to reduce it. I want to make a responsible decision and the certainty is there next year,” he said.
Kevin Kelly, the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council said that by adopting Cllr Flynn’s proposal, the council would lose €2.2 million in funding and suggested the discretionary spending and GMA funding would be in danger.
Cllr Ryans’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Richard Finn while Cllr Flynn’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Donna Sheridan.
Following a vote, Cllr Flynn’s proposal was defeated by 17 votes to 12 and Cllr Ryan’s proposal to maintain the LPT rate was passed.