KERRY County Council will not be increasing its tenants' rents in order to cover the cost of the local property tax which must be paid on all local authority houses this year.
Instead, the council will be footing the bill itself and has set aside € 150,000 in its 2013 budget.
The issue arose following a parliamentary question from South Kerry TD, Deputy Michael Healy Rae, where Finance Minister Michael Noonan said it would be up to each individual local authority to raise the funds locally.
Deputy Healy Rae said he believed the minister's answer was an admission that local authorities will increase their rents in order to make the tenants pay for the property tax.
His claim has been rubbished by Kerry County Council management, however, who insist that its tenants will not be penalised. "We are absolutely not increasing our rents to cover the property tax," communications officer Pádraig Corkery told The Kerryman. "We have put aside € 150,000 in our budget which we estimate will cover the cost of the property tax on our properties. We definitely will not be passing the charge onto our tenants."
He insisted also that the allocation of €150,000 will not have a direct impact on services, as the majority of the allocation will be recouped through the local government fund allocation.
"We have allocated €150,000 to be spent on the property tax, but we are also budgeting for most of that to be put back in through the local government fund, so we would be confident that services are not going to be adversely affected."