Additional Income to fund Economic Infrastructure Development Programme and support existing Services
Yesterday Thursday 28 September, at a special meeting of Wexford County Council, the Council determined the Local Property Tax (LPT) for 2018, with an increase of 4.76% on the 2017 rate. This represents an overall increase 10% on the base rate, set in 2012 when Local Property Tax was first introduced.
The Special Meeting of the Council involved consideration of the financial position of the Council, submissions made by the public through the public consultation process and the financial impact of a variation of the LPT on the economy of the county and on property owners.
For the vast majority (92%) of Wexford households, the Council‘s decision means their LPT will increase by between €0.09 and €0.30 cent per week, when compared to their 2017 charge. The additional income will allow the Council to provide funding for its ambitious economic development programme and support a range of Council services during the coming year.
Wexford County Council’s Director of Services, Economic Development and Planning, Tony Larkin made a detailed presentation to the Members to update them on the Council’s highly ambitious and exciting programme of planned developments across the entire county and he appealed for the continued support of the Members in providing the necessary funding to support the wide-ranging Programme.
In particular, significant progress has been made on the following projects:
• Wexford Quays Development
• M11 Campus Gorey (including Gorey Hatch Lab – now complete)
• Enniscorthy Business & Technology Park
• Gorey Town Park - Expansion and Redevelopment
• New Ross Town Centre Development Project
• Templeshannon Development and Renewal Project
• Butlersland Advanced Factories, New Ross
• Trinity Wharf, Wexford
• New Ross Port Area – Redevelopment
• Gorey Market House Development
• Min Ryan Public Park, Wexford
• Enniscorthy Town Centre Development
• Greenway Projects - Countywide
• Forth Mountain Outdoor Activity Centre
• Hook Visitor Centre - Expansion Project
Addressing the Members, Chief Executive Tom Enright set out the overall economic context and described the challenges facing the Council in its efforts to increase job opportunities and attract investment to the county. Mr. Enright pointed to the shortage of property solutions available to facilitate local company expansion or to attract new businesses to Wexford. He also stated that the absence of high quality jobs in Wexford meant that a large proportion of young people do not return to County Wexford after completing their third level education due to the lack of job opportunities in their home county.
“We can no longer wait for inward employment opportunities to come to Wexford – we must seek them out by investing in an economic development programme that will attract investors and jobs to our county” said Mr. Enright. “Wexford County Council must develop these property solutions ourselves so that when potential investors visit County Wexford, they find a range of state-of-the-art, ready for occupation, affordable and well-located properties, allowing these companies to make an immediate decision.
The additional income that will result from this increase in the LPT will allow Wexford County Council to continue with the implementation of our ambitious economic development programme, a programme which I am confident will bring substantial job creation opportunities to our county. I wish to sincerely thank the Elected Members for their support of this modest increase in the Local Property Tax and to commend them for their courage and foresight in doing so”.
Commenting after the meeting, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Councillor John Hegarty said “This decision of Wexford County Council was a difficult one and is based on the need to strike a balance between financial impact on property owners, the need to fund job creation opportunities and the overall capacity of the Council to deliver our wide range of public services. As a county, we are deficient in our economic development infrastructure and today’s decision is a strong message from the Council that not only do we recognise this deficiency, but we are absolutely committed in our duty as elected members to address it.
We will also take steps in the coming weeks to further publicise this Economic Development and Investment Programme so that the public can see for themselves the scale and range of Wexford County Council’s development ambitions for our county.”
The decision by Wexford County Council to adopt a 10% variation in the Local Property Tax will now form the backdrop to the Council’s 2018 Budget preparations. The Budget will be prepared over the coming weeks and will be considered in detail by Members of Wexford Council at a special meeting in November.
Under section 20 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, the Members of a local authority may decide to vary the basic rate of the Local Property Tax within its functional area by a maximum of plus or minus 15%.
The table below sets out the relevant calculations, following the decision of Wexford County Council to increase the LPT for 2018.
Local Property Tax generated in County Wexford amounts to approximately €12.2m per annum, representing one-eighth of the Council's total annual income.