Last year’s Fianna Fail – Fine Gael decision to block proposed reduction in the LPT has left Sligo one of the highest property tax rated counties in the country
Sligo News File Online
Fianna Fail is warning that it will block any attempt to raise the property tax on Sligo householders. It is not clear whether this has been prompted by local community pressure, but anyway party members of the crisis hit County Council have said they will not support increasing the current rate when the issue comes up for debate in a few weeks time.
Last year the party joined with Fine Gael to defeat a bid by Cllr. Declan Bree and other Independents and Sinn Fein to cut the charge, saying the Council couldn’t afford the proposed 15% reduction. This has resulted in Sligo now suffering one of the highest property tax rates in the country.
There have been claims of more recent times suggesting that the financial condition of the Council, where indebtedness is understood to be around the €120million plus mark, could see the Authority being abolished unless an acceptable financial plan, showing how the prevailing debt load is to be addressed, is submitted for scrutiny by the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly and officials of his department.
Councillors recently met at a local hotel to consider a course of action they want the Executive to take. Following it, they are believed to have sent a letter to the CEO, Ciaran Hayes requesting that the Council expedite the submission of a financial plan to the Minister. The Minister is thought to be insisting that, additional to reducing the existing massive debt overhang, the Council must make provision for a million euro per year budget surplus – many feel this would be well night impossible without either savage cuts in already stretched services or a steep hike in property tax, and possibly also charges and fees for administrative services.
Abolition of the Council would lead to the appointment of a commissioner to handle the affairs of the body. Councillors in such a scenario would have to stand down, leaving the people devoid of
representation by elected members and facing the risk of sweeping levels of tax and charges imposed on householders and business enterprises alike. The power to abolish a council and appointment of a commissioner is vested in the Minister for the Environment.