Dublin City Councillors have again voted for the maximum 15% reduction in the Local Property Tax, despite being warned of a €39 million deficit next year.

Council management had asked instead for a 15% increase, which would raise an extra €24m, to maintain services.

The council's head of finance, Kathy Quinn, said the €39m projected deficit arose from the Covid-19 pandemic, with increased spending on services such as ambulance and homeless provision as well as a loss of income in rents, parking and planning fees. 

However councillors voted by 34 to 21 to apply the rate reduction and keep the tax at the same level as last year.

Councillors have the power to reduce or increase the rate by 15% and Dublin City Councillors have voted each year to apply the maximum reduction.

Many councillors at a meeting this evening complained about the equalisation provision which means 20% of the LPT paid by Dubliners goes to other local authorities.

The tax was expected to raise a total of €81.6m - before the reduction - with €16.3m going in equalisation.

The 15% reduction was supported by amendments from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and The Independent Group.

Sinn Féin Cllr Daithi Doolan said his party would be imposing the reduction until it could send it to "the rubbish bin of history".

Fianna Fáil Cllr Deirdre Heney described the local property tax as unfair on Dubliners, who she said have to pay more because of higher house prices. 

She pointed out that houses built since 2013 are exempt, leading to a loss of €16.5m for the city council.

Cllr James Geogheghan of Fine Gael said an increase of 35% - which would result from imposing a 15% increase instead of a 15% reduction - could not be accepted.

The Greens and the Labour party wanted an increase of 5%. Green Party Cllr Michael Pidgeon asked how the council was going to fund fire brigade, ambulance and homeless services next year.

Labour Cllr Dermot Lacey said a 5% increase would work out at an extra 64 cents a week for a house worth €400,000. 

The Social Democrats did wanted to apply the basic rate but those in receipt of pandemic payments would get a reduction of 15%. Cllr Tara Deacy  said the council is facing an enormous deficit.

South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown had already applied a 15% reduction while Fingal voted for a 10% reduction.