At a special meeting of Wexford County Council this afternoon, the Council set the County Wexford Local Property Tax (LPT) for 2017, with an increase in the 2016 rate of 5%. The decision by Wexford County Council to adopt a 5% increase was taken today as the Council commenced the process of considering the 2017 Annual Budget and represents the first increase in the Wexford LPT rate since its introduction in 2012. The increase in LPT will cost the average household in County Wexford just under €10 extra in 2017 or 18 cent per week.
The range of projects to be funded from the increase in LPT include:
- New large-scale commercial offices and innovation centre
- Redevelopment of Market House
- Redevelopment of Showgrounds Public Park
- New Business/Technology Park
- Town Centre Tourism Project
- Templeshannon Revitalisation Project
- Advanced Factories and Enterprise Cente
- Redevelopment of New Ross Port Area
- Town Centre Tourism Project
- Trinity Wharf Business Park
- Wexford Quay Front Refurbishment
- New Wexford Neighbourhood (Min Ryan) Park
There is also funding being provided for urban renewal projects in a number of locations throughout the county and for improvements to county roads.
Wexford County Council Chief Executive Tom Enright presented a detailed report to the Members setting out the various financial options and implications associated with possible variations in the Local Property Tax. Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Enright said “The decision of the Members to increase the rate of LPT by 5% will create a fund in excess of €600,000 which will be ring fenced to supplement existing expenditure commitments by the Council aimed at improving our economic and community infrastructure and providing funding for the repair and maintenance of the county road network. It is vital that we increase our investment activity in economic development and tourism promotion as these represent County Wexford’s main job creation opportunities. We know from the extensive research that we have carried out that there is a severe shortage of property solutions to facilitate local companies growing or to attract new companies here and we need to lead and deliver these solutions where the private market has failed to do so. ”
He continued “Unemployment is a real problem in County Wexford where the rate of unemployment is much higher than the national average and this places a major burden on the provision of public serices. Almost every household in the County has been impacted one way or another by unemployment or emigration. 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 endlessly for inward employment opportunities to come to Wexford – we must seek them out by investing in an economic development programme that will create a strong attraction for investors and jobs to our county and we must be the catalyst for the development of property solutions for existing Wexford-based companies to expand into. The additional funding that will result from this small increase in the LPT will help to fund an investment of 17 million euro and I am confident that on completion, this ambitious economic development programme will act as a catalyst to bring real job creation opportunities to the county.”
Commenting on the decision to apply a 5% increase, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council Councillor Paddy Kavanagh said “In making this decision the Members carefully considered all aspects of potential increases and decreases and our decision is, I believe, based on a need to strike a balance between the impact on property owners, the need to fund job creation opportunities and incentives, and the overall financial impact on Council services. As a county, we are deficient in our economic infrastructure and today’s decision is a strong message from Wexford County Council that we recognise this deficiency, it is our duty as elected members to address it and we are absolutely committed to doing so”.
Total LPT income to Wexford County Council amounts to approximately €11.9m per annum, representing more than one-eighth of the Council’s total annual income.
The decision by Wexford County Council to adopt a 5% variation in the Local Property Tax will now form the backdrop to the Council’s 2017 Budget preparations. The Budget will be prepared over the coming weeks and will be considered in detail by Members of the Council at a Special Meeting in November.