Joe Behan - Independent Councillor - Wicklow County Council


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Home Tax Shock
21st September 2018

Wicklow County Council is proposing a huge 10% rise in property tax on the people of County Wicklow next year.

In a breathtaking display of indifference to the hardship still being suffered by many hard pressed taxpayers, the Council Chief Executive says the Council can’t manage on its present income and needs to squeeze another 10% from the homeowners of the County. The Council expects the taxpayers of Wicklow to cough up almost €12 million next year, despite the fact that the property tax take is only replacing money that used to come from central government and there is no increase in services available as a result of people paying this tax.

One only has to look at the dire state of roads, footpaths and public lighting as well as reduced opening hours in libraries, motor tax offices and council offices around the county to see that this tax is failing to improve the lives of the people of this county.

Staff reductions are evident across the Council particularly at Municipal District offices in Bray, Greystones, Arklow, Blessington and Wicklow and the shortage of outdoor staff has meant that many of the basic functions of the Council at local level are just not being fulfilled. It is interesting to note however that the top level of Council Management, ie Chief Executive and Directors is still bloated even though the Council’s activities on the ground have decreased.

The most sickening aspect of this demand for a 10% tax hike is the expenditure of taxpayers’ money by Wicklow County Council on certain projects which were strongly opposed by some Councillors, such as the waiving of €500,000 to an American Vulture Fund in a land deal on the Bray’s Sth Cross Road, the sale of the freehold on the Barracuda Restaurant in Bray for a mere €10,000, the clean up after illegal dumping in West Wicklow which could eventually cost the Irish and Wicklow taxpayers up to €100 million and the current unacceptable situation at Bray’s Florentine Centre where changing plans could benefit a private developer at the expense of the taxpayers of County Wicklow.

In a letter to the Council recently, the Minister for Housing and Local Government has confirmed that Councillors have the power to set the property tax for next year and can either reduce or increase the tax by up to 15% either way. I will strongly oppose the Chief Executive’s proposal to increase the property tax by 10% at Monday’s Council meeting and I hope every Councillor will use their powers to reduce the tax burden on the people of County Wicklow instead.

Cllr. Joe Behan

Independent



Serving the people of County Wicklow since 1985 | joebehan@outlook.ie

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