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28 Sept 2022

Kilkenny property tax to remain same as council warns of potential €2m budget crunch

Councillors agree 'no change' as fears mount over soaring inflation and budget uncertainty

County Hall

County Hall, Kilkenny

The current rate of Local Property Tax in Kilkenny is to be maintained in 2023, following a decision by local councillors on Monday.

The elected members have received a number of briefings in recent weeks, and on Monday, they spoke of the need to try and maintain funding levels after two difficult years during the pandemic. 

With inflation soaring and bills on the rise, there is considerable worry over how services may be affected, and what further supports may be on the way. All eyes are on next week's Budget 2023. Also looming in the coming weeks is the council’s own annual budget, to be adopted in November.

Council head of finance Martin Prendiville has warned that inflation is having a significant impact on the cost of delivering all services and on the future delivery of the council’s Capital Programme.

Energy costs for all council buildings could be close to half a million euro above what was expected for the year as a result of price increases. The impact of inflation on other goods and services is estimated to cost an additional €550,000 in 2022 also.

The public sector pay agreement recently negotiated will result in additional payroll costs of €936,000 for 2022, and it is not yet known what compensation will be forthcoming.

Income from car parking is still down since the onset of the pandemic — and while there is expected to be higher income from Commercial Rates than budgeted — the council’s Chief Executive report for September says the projected net deficit could be in the region of €2 million in the absence of further support from Government. Rising costs of fuel and materials is also threatening to slow progress on a number of road projects under way.

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Pat Fitzpatrick has said management and elected members have been making their case to Government, ahead of the crucial Budget 2023 announcement.

“We are hoping to see some kind of development there,” he told the Kilkenny People.

“There will have to be big decisions made if there are not some supports. I am worried about some of the decisions we would have to take. Communities depend on us for things like grants and the supports that the council provides.”

The council must prepare and adopt its own annual budget in the coming weeks, and what is announced next week will impact that. Mr Prendiville has warned that the local authority is facing ‘significant issues’ in terms of rising energy costs, inflation and the looming National Pay Agreement.

“The current environment is extremely volatile and uncertain,”he told members on Monday, urging them to maintain the current LPT base rate adjustment, which is worth over €1 million in income.

The item was proposed by Cllr Andrew McGuinnness (FF), seconded by Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh and agreed by all present, with no counter-proposal put forward.

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