Council votes to hike property tax by 5%
By a margin of just a single vote, members of Kerry County Council have voted to increase Property Tax in Kerry by five per cent next year.
Under the terms of the 2012 Local Property Tax Act, local authorities have the power to vary the basic rate of the tax in their administrative area.
Councillors can use this 'local adjustment factor' to raise or lower the tax by up to 15 per cent.
Though management at Kerry County Council had sought a 10 per cent increase, this was rejected with councillors eventually agreeing to a five per cent hike in the tax locally.
This is the first time the charge has been increased in Kerry since the tax was introduced.
Though Sinn Féin have frequently pressed for a reduction Kerry County Council had previously voted to keep the tax at its basic level.
KCC Chief Executive - who had called for the 10 per cent hike - to bring in an additional €1.4 million had warned councillors that the authority faced a €4million Euro budget deficit.
She told councillors that Property Tax now accounted for 11 per cent of the council's budget.
The management proposal of a ten per cent hike in the charge was rejected by 15 votes to 11.
The five per cent increase was passed with the slimmest of margins, 14 votes to 13.
There was one abstention, from Cllr Mike Kennelly (FG), while four councillors - Niall Kelleher (FF), Jimmy Moloney (FF), Sam Locke (Ind) and Dan McCarthy (Ind) were not present.
As an example a person with a property worth €100,000 to €150,000 will now pay €11.25 more per year.
Council management said funds raised by the tax hike - estimated at €704,000 - will support a new Agri-Tech centre of Excellence and a research and development innovation hub in Killorglin. Councils are free to use Property Tax funds for any purpose they see fit.