Doyle calls on the Council to Outline Plans to Improve Services in Wicklow:
Local Fianna Fáil election candidate for Greystones, James Doyle, has called on Wicklow County Council to prepare a report with hard evidence of how the additional income from the Local Property Tax (LPT) will be spent on improving services and facilities for the Greystones area over the next 5 years.
In a detailed analysis undertaken by Mr. Doyle, he estimates that Greystones households alone will pay approximately three million euro in 2014 to the Revenue authorities or €330 on average per household in Greystones for Local Property Tax.
Outlining the key points of his findings, James Doyle commented “This tax may be collected centrally, but the benefit of its redistribution should be felt at a local level where residents not only struggle to make ends meet but are also left with inadequate infrastructure and subgrade services.”
“In my view local governments should be allocated most, if not all, of these funds. If we had anything bearing even an ounce of resemblance to functional local government that would be a given. We need a properly funded and accountable government. It happens abroad; but not in our country.”
Criticising the Governments cynical “reform” motives Doyle denounced the combined effect of the local property tax and abolition of town councils as “nothing more than a cocktail of populism and pick-pocketing.”
“Greystones area residents would pay a tax that could then be invested in road and cycle lane maintenance, child recreation and sports facilities, disabled accessibility improvements in parks, public buildings and pathways. We could get value for the taxes we pay; we would be in an informed position to hold county council decisions to account,” argued Doyle, a local solicitor, who identifies reforming government, taxation and public services as core personal beliefs.
“To give an example the residents of Grattan Park could ask council why the delay in resurfacing their roads or cracked pavements; the parents of Holywell in Kilcoole could legitimately call for their long-promised playground to become a reality. When we pay our so called ‘local’ property tax do we have any expectation that this money will go into a ‘local’ fund to be invested in ‘local’ services decided upon by ‘local’ representatives and implemented by capable civil servants? No, not at all.
“In a fair and functioning system of local government a local property tax would fund local services. With Fine Gael and Labour at the helm we are sold ‘reform’ and at the same time pinched of hard earned funds that may never come back into our community. The broken park bench in Greystones or a few extra places on a skills course are sacrificed so our national debt interest payments can be met.”
Mr Doyle further commented “I put together this report because I felt strongly that the Government are happy to bleed dry the population of Wicklow with the broken promise that a minimum of 80% would come back to us yet we have to fight tooth and nail to get funding for basic services in our area.”
James Doyle stated “The property tax, which people will pay in 2014, will stay at the same level for the next three years but there is no guarantee that this money will be spent in the local community. The overall property tax take in the Greystones area over the next 5 years will come to €15 million. This is startling and should be matched with an improvement in how our area’s facilities are developed and our local services improved.
“I would like to work with Residents and Residents’ Associations across Greystones to understand what they feel needs be done in their areas over the next five years and ensure that they get value for money for the taxes that they will be forced to pay. Minister Phil Hogan has stated clearly that this tax is to “fund the provision of local services by Local Authorities” and we need the Minister to follow through on this promise.”
The Greystones local election candidate believes “the Minister could make good his stated intention that at least 80% of locally raised property tax would go back into Greystones, Delgany, Kilcoole and Newcastle”.
The Fianna Fail candidate emphasised “without honest and joined up reforms, old school politics and populism will scupper local progress and community quality of life.”
To read this article on the Wicklow Voice website click here.