Homeowners in Mayo will see an increase of 10 per cent in their Local Property Tax (LPT ) next year, following a vote at Mayo County Council's September meeting on Monday afternoon.
The increase in the LPT will see 43.3 per cent of homeowners in Mayo who have valued their property at under €100,000, see their LPT increase by €9 over the year, while the 38.3 per cent of home owners who have their properties valued between €100,000 and €150,000, will see their LPT increase by €22.50 over the year.
The 10 per cent increase in LPT will see an extra €1.04 million in revenue generated for the local authority next year - a condition of the increase in the LPT that was voted through was that an extra €200,000 be allocated for verge and hedge cutting, as proposed by Fianna Fáil whip Cllr Damien Ryan.
Fine Gael whip Cllr Jarlath Munnelly proposed that the €1.04 million be allocated to each of the municipal districts pro-rata by the number of councillors in each district, for match funding for Government backed developments and other projects, and that it be included as a line item in the district's budget. He had no issue with the €200,000 proposed by Cllr Ryan for verge and hedge cutting to be included as one of these projects.
There was a lengthy discussion at the meeting over the increase, where acting head of finance for the council, Tom Gilligan, gave a presentation on the need for the council to increase the LPT to help stem a big gap in finances following the impact of Covid-19. He also told members that the council had placed an advertisement in three local newspapers and on their website in July, looking for submissions from the public on the potential increase of the LPT - and there was not a single submission from the public on the issue, and that there had not been a single public submission on the issue for the past number of years either when it was also advertised.
Cllr Ryan proposed the increase and was seconded by Cllr Munnelly - a counter-proposal was put forward to not increase it, by Ballina-based independent Cllr Mark Duffy, which was seconded by Fianna Fáil Cllr Brendan Mulroy - which showed the first split in the party on the vote, with Sinn Féin's Cllr Gerry Murray also supporting the counter-proposal.
When it was put to a vote, the increase was passed by 20 votes to 10 - the entire Fine Gael council group of ten councillors voted for the increase along with seven of the Fianna Fáil grouping and two independents - the Cathaoirleach Cllr Richard Finn and Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.
The 10 who voted against the increase included four Fianna Fáil councillors, Blackie Gavin, Michael Loftus, Brendan Mulroy and Martin McLoughlin, along with Sinn Fein's Cllr Gerry Murray and independent councillors Mark Duffy, Christy Hyland, Patsy O'Brien, Johno O'Malley and Seamus Weir.
After the vote was announced, Cllr Johno O'Malley said: "You should all be ashamed of yourselves. The people of Mayo will be very disappointed with this."