Belfast Telegraph

Councils may get property tax power

The controversial property tax could be set by each local authority under new plans to reform the sector, Environment Minister Phil Hogan revealed.

Up to 500 public sector workers will be made redundant and more than a third of councillors axed as 80 town councils are abolished under the proposals.

Mr Hogan said his reforms will be the most fundamental in 100 years and will deliver savings of 45 million euro a year.

"The local government system is outdated, with anomalies, inconsistencies and structural and other deficiencies that successive reform programmes failed to address," he said.

The minister said the property tax will initially be set by government, but revealed councillors will eventually have control over the charge.

"If they are raising the money locally for each particular service provision, they will have a say in how they spend it. Therefore each local authority can have a different level of property tax in due course," he added.

The Putting People First action plan will see city and county councils in Limerick and Waterford merged, as well as the two county councils in Tipperary.

Dublin will keep its four councils for now, but will hold a referendum over plans to have one overall mayor. Cork and Galway will also retain city and county councils.

Councillor numbers will be cut from 1,627 to 950, with elected members representing the district at county level.

Local authorities will fall from 114 to 31, with new integrated areas called municipal districts and three assemblies replacing 10 regional authorities and assemblies.

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