Major property tax hike for all Westmeath house owners

Westmeath County Council has agreed to increase the local property tax rate by 15% for 2021.

Local authorities have the power to increase or reduce the annual local property tax rate by up to 15% each year.

A public consultation process had been under way in Westmeath on the rate for 2021 and a report by the council's chief executive Pat Gallagher, which recommended the 15% increase for next year, the maximum increase permitted, was before councillors at the monthly meeting of the local authority today (Monday).

Following debate, councillors agreed to adopt a recommendation to increase the rate by 15%.

The move was proposed by Cllr Denis Leonard and seconded by Cllr Tom Farrell.

Fianna Fail councillors Aengus O'Rourke, Aoife Davitt and the council chair Ken Glynn spoke against the move.

Councillors were told the move will result in 41% of Westmeath property owners seeing their local property tax bill rise by €13.50 next year, while another 36.5% of owners would experience a €33.75 hike.

The estimated local property tax income in the county this year is €6.48m, with some 36,200 properties liable for the tax in Westmeath.

The council says a 15% increase in the local property tax will generate income of circa €972,000 in 2021.

It says the funding is required in light of the unprecedented financial uncertainty facing the council, the impact of the pandemic on rates and other locally-generated income and in order to maintain current service levels in 2021.

A 15% rise in the local property tax in Westmeath will mean an increase of €13.50 per annum for householders whose property is valued at less than €100,000 and who currently pay €90 per year.

Those whose homes are valued at between €100,001 and €150,000 would see their annual payment of €225 increase by €33.75. This group represents some 36.5% of the property owners.

If the 15% hike is agreed there will be an increase of €47.25 per year for property owners in the valuation band between €150,001 and €200,000. Owners in this category, which represent, 16.6% of all those who pay the tax, are currently paying €315 per year.

There will be a €60.75 increase per year on the current property tax of €405 which those whose homes are valued between €200,001 and €250,000 are liable for.

And those with properties valued above €250,000 will see their rates increase by at least €74, from the current rate of €495 plus.

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