Friday 15 December 2017

'No boost for Dublin city' from property tax windfall

Dublin City manager Owen Keegan
Dublin City manager Owen Keegan

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

There may be no "net increase" in funding to Ireland's largest local authority next year despite the Government's promise to allow councils to retain 80pc of the property tax proceeds.

Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan has warned that his council's state funding is likely to be merely "substituted" by the property tax windfall in 2015 – raising major questions about a series of pledges from ministers.

Government TDs, particularly those in the Labour Party, had heralded the pledge by Environment Minister Phil Hogan to allow local authorities to ring-fence 80pc of the tax collected from homeowners in their areas next year.

It was anticipated that such a move would boost council finances, incentivise homeowners to settle their property tax bills and encourage councils to reduce the property tax rate when given the power to do so.

But Mr Keegan's blunt warning appears to contradict claims that councils will be better off by the Government's decision.

In correspondence seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Keegan said the finances of Dublin City Council may not be boosted at all when 80pc of the proceeds of the property tax are retained.

"The decision to allocate 80pc of LPT (Local Property Tax) receipts to local authorities, beginning in 2015, may not result in a net increase in funding to Dublin City Council," he said in a letter to Fianna Fail councillor Tom Brabazon.

Cllr Brabazon has accused the Government of a "con job".

Irish Independent

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