Cork county councillors: ‘We are just tax collectors for the State’

Cork county councillors have reacted angrily to reports that the Government will not reimburse the local authority for the near-€4.5m yearly bill to collect motor tax.

On average, County Hall staff collects around €50m yearly for vehicles in Cork city and county, and the funding goes directly to the Department of the Environment.

The council has pointed out, repeatedly, in recent years that grants from the department for road repairs had diminished considerably, to such an extent that the cash-strapped council cannot fulfil proposed road schemes.

Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) had sought a report on the costs of running the motor tax office. A report indicated this was €4,442,942. Nearly half the costs related to staff wages.

The remainder involved postage, bank charges, building operation costs, security, and service support costs.

Cork City Council does provide a motor tax service and the county council collects the charges for city-based drivers as well.

The county council operates a counter service, along with a team handling motor tax renewal forms through the post.

Mr Ó Laoghaire said the Government should not expect the council to carry the burden of the cost of running a service on its behalf.

County council chief executive Tim Lucey agreed. “We are incurring a cost, collecting money for the State. It’s always been our case that full costs should be recovered from the State, but I can’t do anything about it, unfortunately.”

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) declared: “We are just tax collectors for the State.”

The council is to write to the Department of the Environment expressing its dissatisfaction with not being reimbursed and asked for the matter to be rectified.

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