Sunday 18 August 2019

Dublin City Council in bid to keep all property tax revenue rather than give 20pc to rural authorities

Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick. Picture: Collins
Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick. Picture: Collins
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The newly elected Dublin City Council (DCC) has voted to retain and spend all revenue collected from the local property tax.

The move would dramatically reduce the amount of funding available for less well-funded local authorities in rural communities.

A cross-party group - who will control the capital's council - agreed to find a way to keep the entire €80m raised annually from property tax charges.

Cash-rich councils are legally required to give 20pc of revenue raised through the tax to an equalisation fund which is then allocated to less well-off local authorities.

The DCC last year gave more than €15m to the fund which is operated by the Department of Housing.

The decision to seek to retain the money was taken by a group of councillors from Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, Green Party and Social Democrats, who now control the city council.

However, it remained unclear how they would seek to keep the funding.

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said there were "enormous needs" in the capital around housing which could be funded by the "significant" amount of property tax given to other councils.

The cross-party group could not reach consensus on increasing or decreasing property tax.

Instead, they agreed each party could have a free vote when the council voted on the rate to be paid by homeowners.

Separately, they agreed a range of actions to increase housing supply in the city including charging full commercial rates on vacant business premises.

The group also voted to sell publicly owned land to private developers only if the financial benefit outweighs the social and economic value to the community.

The new council will also introduce a scheme to encourage "empty nesters" to downsize to smaller houses.

Irish Independent

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