Monday 19 March 2018

Council face decision to reduce LPT rates

LOUTH County Council face the challenge of establishing two new rates over the coming weeks which will affect businesses and homeowners across the county.

Councillors heard at their July meeting that decisions on both the local property tax (LPT) and commercial rates before the end of September, in line with preparations for the 2015 draft budget.

Chief Executive Joan Martin told councillors that any variation on the local property tax has to be agreed.

'Clearly the decision on whether or not to vary the local property tax is fundamental to setting the baseline for our overall draft budget considerations.'

The option for the local authority to reduce or increase the LPT rate by 15% came into effect with new regulations on July 1st.

Ms.Martin warned councillors that a 15% cut would mean the local authority would have to make up the shortfall of more than EUR1 million.

'The guidance issued with the regulations clearly sets out the process to be followed including public consultation, a process which began in mid July.'

The CEO said that feedback from the public consultation will be brought before the council's Corporate Policy Group in late August.

Cllr. Peter Savage said that there was likely to be a 15% drop in the local property tax, adding: 'when that is done, the department will then cut our allocation.'

Cllr. Tomas Sharkey describe the government cuts as 'a grab' and added that the local authority 'would have to be honest with the people of Louth as to where the money is being spent.'

Joan Martin told the meeting that 'even before any reduction in local property tax, we are already down a couple of hundred thousand euro.'

She said she didn't believe other councils would cut property tax by 15% as they were already facing the same challenges which Louth County Council were facing.

The Chief Executive also warned the members that cuts would have to be made to the 2015 budget, saying that these would be 'unpalatable' but 'necessary in order to provide a balanced budget.'

The Argus