Cllr. Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil Dublin West Councillor, has welcomed the decision by Fingal County Council to endorse the Fianna Fáil motion and to reduce the property tax by 15% at its monthly meeting on Monday July 14th but he has called on the new Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, to publish regulations/guidelines to allow Councils to formally ratify these decisions. Fingal County Council voted as follows:
FOR 30, Against 0, Abstain 7.
Chambers stated, ”This sends a clear signal to government that Fingal Councillors want to alleviate a significant percentage of this regressive, disproportionate and inequitable burden that was placed on Dublin taxpayers. Unfortunately, this decision will have to be formally ratified again at the Council meeting in September because the former Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, had deliberately delayed the publication of regulations in order to frustrate the ability of Councils to legally reduce the rate. These regulations must be published immediately to allow for submissions to be made and for Councils to legally and formally decide what rate of LPT they will apply. Last year, Minister Hogan also cynically promised that 80% of LPT collected in each local authority throughout the country would go back into local services. Instead water meters were installed, bankrolled by Property Tax. The public had their say on this broken promise in May when they sent the Government a very strong message in the local elections.”
Chambers also noted, “Today, Fingal has sent a clear message regarding its absolute intention to reduce the tax for the year 2015 by 15%. We have seen a change of face and party at the Department of the Environment and now we need a change of direction. The Labour Party needs to match its rhetoric for the last six weeks with action and Minister Alan Kelly needs to reassure Property Tax payers that he will not cut other income streams for compliant Urban Based Councils. The first real test for the Labour Party will be to allow local authorities to reduce the Local Property Tax by 15% and not to penalise local authorities that do so by reducing the central Government grant. Any decision by the new Minister for the Environment to cut other income streams to City and County Councils will breach the previous Fine Gael and Labour commitments regarding the property tax.”
Fianna Fáil Motion:
“In accordance with Section 20 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, we the elected members of Fingal County Council formally resolve to vary the basic rate of Local Property Tax in respect of residential properties situated in Fingal County Council’s administrative area. We propose a local adjustment factor (LAF) of -15% for the year 2015. We call on the Chief Executive and the Minister for Environment to put in place all necessary arrangements which will allow this Council to notify the Revenue Commissioners of our intentions prior to the September 2014 deadline.”