CRITICISMSCouncilor Peter Flynn argued that Mayo County Council was not providing a good enough service to justify keeping the local property tax at its current rate.
Fianna Fáil and Independent Coalition reject Fine Gael proposal
A Fine Gael PROPOSAL to reduce the rate of local property tax by 15% has been rejected after being rejected by Fianna Fáil and some independent councillors.
Westport-based Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn had proposed a 15 per cent reduction in the local property tax base rate for 2023, saying people facing uncertainty needed hope.
“These are unprecedented times and in all the years I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve ever faced such an uncertain winter. That’s saying a lot after going through Covid and Brexit and the bankruptcy of this country, but we’ve never been in a situation where people didn’t know if they would have electricity in their homes and if people could afford to pay their heating bills,’ he said at Mayo County Council’s monthly meeting yesterday (Monday).
Two years ago, Fine Gael and a minority of Fianna Fáil councilors voted to increase the LPT by 10% to fund capital projects and fund hedge trimming.
Cllr Flynn told the meeting that at the time they had been criticized for doing so, but they did so on the basis that it was the most mature thing to do to support the new leadership of the advice. However, he felt that the council executive failed to deliver the services councilors had hoped for.
“Have we seen any dramatic changes in the service? Honestly can’t say we saw it in West Mayo. We are struggling and I cannot say the level of service has improved,” he said.
The Westport councilor added that he believed that with rising energy costs and a higher salary scale to pay, the council would have a deficit of 10 million euros in 2023 and a reduced LPT would not mean much. thing.
“While every million counts, that’s not all and now is the time to give a positive feeling to the people of Mayo. We understand the fears you are facing and the challenges you are facing in terms of finances, but we we have to try to show that we are helping, however small it may be as little as a euro a week and although it is little for the people here, it may matter for another house in the county and we have to keep that in mind,” he said.
Earlier in the meeting, Peter Duggan, the head of finance, said that due to changes in the valuation band, 63.5% of households in Mayo will now pay the lower band rate. He recommended that the change for the LPT remain at the current 2022 rate for the years 2023 and 2024.
Fianna Fáil Whip Cllr Damien Ryan said with a “heavy heart” he was offering Mr Duggan’s recommendation for the council to continue funding projects and services in the county.
“The money that comes with it and the discretionary spending that we have cannot be underestimated and the GMA is something that has benefited communities in this county. What this money has done for the communities has been appreciated and well received and I don’t want to diminish it. I want to make a responsible decision and the certainty is there next year,” he said.
Kevin Kelly, chief executive of Mayo County Council, said that by passing Cllr Flynn’s proposal, the council would lose €2.2 million in funding and suggested discretionary spending and GMA funding would be in danger.
Cllr Ryans’ proposal was seconded by Cllr Richard Finn while Cllr Flynn’s proposal was seconded by Cllr Donna Sheridan.
Following a vote, Cllr Flynn’s proposal was rejected by 17 votes to 12 and Cllr Ryan’s proposal to maintain the LPT tariff was adopted.