No change to property tax for Kilkenny homeowners

Council: Maintaining rate will protect €1.1 million and allow some discretionary spend

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Local property tax

Local adjustment factor will remain the same next year in respect of residential properties

Councillors have agreed to maintain the current rate of Local Property Tax (LPT) for Kilkenny homeowners next year.

For the first time since the LPT was introduced six years ago, there was unanimity on the decision at last week’s council meeting, with no alternative proposals to vary the rate, perhaps reflecting the present uncertainty of the council’s financial position. The gravity of the situation has been outlined to the members in briefings and reports in recent weeks.

The council’s budget for 2021 has to be adopted in November, and the setting of the LPT basic rate has a bearing on that process. Last year, members voted to increase the rate by 15% to generate an additional €1.1 million in income.

Addressing members at the meeting to set the rate, the council’s head of finance Martin Prendiville said that every year, there were serious challenges trying to balance budgets, and everyone was aware the impact the pandemic has had on households, companies and organisations. He said the council was no different.

“The challenge for 2021 is unprecendented,” he said. “All income streams are under pressure.”

Mr Prendiville revealed that the budget shortfall as it currently stands is between €5.5 and €5.9 million.

“We have no indication from government as to what other support will be available,” he said.

With the position for 2020 unclear, there is more uncertainty looking ahead to 2021. Mr Prendiville said the additional €1.1 million – prior to Covid – had enabled the local authority to balance the books and provide some discretionary funding, such as for community and voluntary groups.

“We are asking members today to maintain the same variation on the LPT for 2021 as 2020. It will protect €1.1 million and will enable us to provide some discretionary spending, but it will certainly not solve all our problems.”

Cllr Michael Doyle proposed the draft resolution which set out the rate be maintained as is.

“It’s important in these challenging times to maintain and hold on to what we have and provide as many services as we can for the people of Kilkenny City and county,” he said.

It was seconded by Cllr Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere.

“It is in unprecedented circumstances and a challenging time. This is no change and no increase,” he said. The item was agreed.