Property tax to remain the same in Sligo

Sligo county councillors have agreed today NOT to make any change to the local property tax for the coming year.

There had been a proposal to reduce the tax by 15% but this was defeated when councillors voted by 9 to 4 against it.

Councillors heard such a proposal would result in a loss in revenue to the already cash-strapped council of about €800,000.

Decisions on the local property tax taken by Sligo councillors this morning covers the period from November 1st next to October 31st next year.

Independent Councillor Declan Bree, who is opposed to the property tax, said that while councillors did not have the power to abolish it, they did at least have the power to reduce it by up to 15%.

However, Fine Gael Councillor Hubert Keaney said they would all love to do that but he was dealing with the real world.

And that, he said, meant a loss of €800,000 for local services.

And he said councillors who called for reducing the tax should outline where that money would come from.

Fianna Fail Councillor Tom MacSharry said his party had given a commitment they would not increase the tax.

Council Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes said the council was extremely conscious it must comply with the wishes of the councillors but it also had to have regard to the financial plan agreed with the department.

He also said the Department now requires the council to have a €600,000 surplus annually, which, he added, was ‘very stringent.’

He said if the council achieved that, the department would provide a small amount of extra funding to the local authority.

He said financially the council was going in the right direction but it still had a considerable distance to go.

And he warned that if a decision was made to reduce the tax by 15%, it would have a serious impact on the finances of the council and make it unviable.

In two separate votes, councillors voted 9-4 against reducing the tax by 15% and agreeing not to make any variation in it for the coming year.

Afterwards, Fine Gael Councillor Hubert Keaney told Ocean FM News the decision secures vital income to the council for the coming year: