Property tax 'double blow' for council, says Walsh
LISTOWEL Town Council will face a property tax bill of €18,000 next year, as the authority is forced to fork out €90 per annum on each unit in its housing stock of 200 houses.
At the same time the council won't benefit from the property tax paid by local home-owners and the end result will be fewer services for the people of Listowel.
That's the view of local councillor, Tom Walsh, who raised the issue following a pre-budget meeting of the authority last week.
According to Cllr Walsh most local authorities are facing a budget crisis next year as they are hit with hefty property tax bills, and Listowel will be no exception.
"Local authorities are being hit with a double blow on property tax, because not only are local authorities facing hefty property tax bills for their own housing stock, they are also not receiving the direct benefit of the property tax collected in their area," he said.
"This is a double blow at a time when local authorities can least afford it and is happening while the council's Local Government Funding is cut."
The Fianna Fail councillor accused the Government of telling lies when they promised to give local authorities 80 per cent of the property tax revenue collected in their area.
"The bottom line is that home owners and councils were misled. People were told that by paying their property tax they are investing in their local area and can expect improved local services as a result," he said.
"The reality is that the tax is now being collected centrally while many local authorities face an unprecedented budget crisis for next year. Communities will pay the price for this. Far from an improvement in local services as they were promised, councils are being forced to scale back investment in their area."
"It is becoming increasingly clear that communities and local authorities will be no better off next year as a result of the property tax. The reality is the exact opposite," he said.
"In a deeply cynical ploy, the Government got home owners to pay property taxes on a promise that the majority of their money would be invested in their local area, when the real intent was to put the money in the Government's coffers."
Cllr Walsh says the fear now is that the Government will try and pass the property tax bill on to local authority tenants - a total U-turn that he says he will not support.