Galway city councillors have voted to retain the local property tax at its current rate for the coming year.
The issue caused much debate when it was discussed this week by the councillors, who have the discretion to raise or lower the rate of the tax by up to 15 per cent every year.
The Galway City Council collected just under €8 million in local property tax last year. Director of services Edel McCormack told councillors that 20 per cent of this figure goes to other local authorities which do not have a significant income from LPT.
Ms McCormack said a total of 83 per cent of the council’s funding now comes from local sources, such as LPT and commercial rates, with 17 per cent coming from central Government through grants and subsidies.
A public consultation process on the local property tax had seen just seven submissions received on the subject.
Cllr Donal Lyons proposed to keep the LPT rate at its current level, saying this was the only way the council could maintain its services in the city.
However Cllr Mairead Farrell proposed that the tax be cut by a maximum of 15 per cent, saying the council should be calling for the tax to be abolished, as was suggested in some of the public submissions. “This is a question of whether we stand with the people as regards austerity or not,” she said.
The majority of councillors were in favour of retaining the rate of LPT for the coming year, particularly in light of a shortfall of some €5 million in funding which the council is currently grappling with.
According to figures presented to the council, a 15 per cent reduction would have amounted to just under €1.2 million in funding lost to the council.