Despite a stark warning from Peter Duggan, Head of Finance of Mayo County Council that the local authority is going to face a €5.1 million shortfall next year, the elected members of the council refused to increase the base rate of the Local Property Tax for next year.
The council executive had been looking for the maximum increase on the base rate of 15 per cent for next year to help bridge the €5.1 million expected shortfall, if the councillors had accepted the proposal of the council executive it would have brought and extra €1.56 million in revenue for the local authority. Mr Duggan had outlined a number of reasons for the expected shortfall next year, including an extra €1.1 million being needed to be found for extra payroll costs, along with capital provisions of €1.2 million - so the council will be able to contribute matching funding requirements to capital investments made by the government for projects in the county. He also said that they council expected to see a decrease on their income side next year with a €1.4 million decrease on the income side of the accounts expected.
However, there was no appetite from any of the different parties in the chamber to make any increase on the LPT for next year, never mind near the 15 per cent that the executive were looking for. Even after 35 minute adjournment, no proposal to accept the council executives plan or even to accept a lower level increase was put forward by the elected members, with Cathoirleach Cllr Richard Finn putting forward a proposal that the status quo be maintained and no increase imposed for next year.
Outlining the cost to households of the increase that the council executive were looking for Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes told the members that for the 42.6 per cent of households in the county who had their houses valued at less than €100,000 their LPT would increase by €13.50 a year, while the next 38.8 per cent of households in Mayo which had their homes valued at between €100,000 and €150,000 they would see their LPT charge increase by €33.75 a year.
For more see this Friday's Mayo Advertiser