Defaulter residents and firms owe €500m to councils

CASH-STRAPPED local authorities have been told to crack down on defaulters as figures show more than €500 million is owed in development levies, rent and rates arrears and unpaid refuse charges.

As householders face hikes in rates, the figures show that the country’s largest local authority has arrears totalling €231m, including €73m owed by businesses in rates.

Included in this is a staggering €16m owed to Dublin City Council in refuse charges with approximately 9,500 customers in “serious arrears” (in excess of one year).

At the end of November last year, there were a total of 8,795 rent accounts in arrears for more than a month – totalling €22m.

More than €73m is owed in commercial rates, with €16m owed in commercial water charges.

Fingal County Council has arrears of over €204m, with over 70% of this figure made up of €146m in development levies.

The council is owed:

n€22.7m in commercial rates with 3,545 accounts in arrears.

n€4.2m in commercial water charges with more than 2,300 accounts behind in payments.

n€28m in Government capital work grants leaving Fingal County Council with debts of more than €28m.

In Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council the total amount of arrears comes to almost €69m.

The local authority is owed almost €2m in unpaid housing rents with 1,550 accounts in arrears.

Although domestic water charges were scrapped in 1996, there is still €1.4m owed to the council.

The council is also owed a massive €21m in domestic refuse charges, with almost 11,500 accounts in arrears.

According to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council a number of householders “have agreed to pay their arrears by instalment. It is estimated that €14.6m may be waived when householders apply for waivers”.

A statement issued by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government acknowledged the level of arrears owed to local authorities but said charges and the collection of debts was a matter for each council.

The statement also added that Environment Minister John Gormley urged all local authorities “to collect all charges which are due to them in a timely and efficient manner”.


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