All bar one Laois county councillor have rejected a proposal to raise the Local Property Tax on Laois homeowners for 2022.
In a meeting just over this Wednesday morning, July 28, Laois County Council had strongly recommended that councillors agree to add a 13% local top-up on the national tax, which brings in some €9 million to the council budget to spend across the county.
The financial director Gerry Murphy had outlined that on top of the 10% extra that Laois homeowners pay, another 3% would raise €152,000. He had listed possible projects that the total extra money, €658,000 would be spent in 2022, including €150,000 to ensure Portlaoise and Portarlington leisure centres could remain opened.
However Cllr Willie Aird rejected the recommendation, and 16 other councillors backed his proposal to keep the tax to last year's level. Only Cllr James Kelly from Mountrath disagreed, pointing out that items like the graveyard in Mountrath were on the list to get some of the extra money.
Cllr Aird accused the finance director of "playing a game" by listing items like the leisure centre, saying that he was sure he could rebalance the books without the extra cash.
"I was gobsmacked when you told me the chief is looking for a 3% increase from last year. To me we have enough money for the leisure centres. It's been very difficult for people, there is no appetite whatever for the local authority to increase the property tax. I'm proposing you leave well enough alone," he said.
Nationally the Local Property Tax is being reevaluated anyway, so it is yet unclear if homeowners will be paying more or less than last year as bands will be widened. In addition, the new homes built since the tax was introduced in 2013, will be brought into the tax net for the first time.
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