Three per cent cut to property tax will cost council €200,000

Westmeath county councillors have resolved to reduce the Local Property Tax (LPT ) by 3 per cent in 2015.

The decision was made at this week’s meeting of the county council.

For the majority of Westmeath’s property owners this decision will amount to an annual saving of between €6 and €9. The decision will cost the council in the region of €200,000 over the year.

Councillors had the power to vary the Government’s basic rate of Local Property Tax up or

down by a maximum of 15 per cent.

It took councillors over two hours to decide on the 3 per cent reduction after council executives warned councillors that a reduction of 15 per cent on the basic LPT rate would impact negatively on the council’s plans for delivering services to the county. A 15 per cent reduction would have saved most households €32 a year, and led to a cut of €987,000 to the council’s income.

Speaking after the meeting, leader of Sinn Féin on Westmeath County Council, Paul Hogan, said that he decided to table a motion for the maximum possible level of a reduction in the Local Property Tax payable by householders in the county.

“The 3 per cent reduction amounts to under €200,000 which the council can make up from the additional income reserves such as the Non Principle Private Residence (NPPR ) and the rate refund on vacant properties. This €200,000 will be saved by local householders collectively which in turn will be spent in the local economy thus boosting local businesses.

“I was glad to support the 3 per cent reduction which amended my motion, even if it was only a token gesture. The most obvious political result from the motion was that the austerity alliance of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Labour on Westmeath County Council split on the vote for the first time since the new council took office.”

The number of properties currently registered for LPT in the county is 33,600, with 94 per cent of these valued at €200,00 or less.

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