The town council’s waiver scheme is more generous than councillors realised.
With 30% on the waiver scheme, town manager John Breen warned it may not be possible to offer free waste collection to so many people in the future.
“We’re giving a 100% service to customers, but only 70% pay for the service. The number of waivers is undermining our ability to sustain costs into the future. We must look at the long-term sustainability of this,” he said.
Mr Breen also said the council would be moving to a new payment card system under which people could buy credits similar to mobile phone credits.
Given Killarney’s better showing in the Tidy Town’s competition — second overall this year — Mr Breen said it was essential to have a good street cleaning service, which will cost €623,000 next year.
The cost of waste collection in the town will come to €851,000 in 2008. The annual charge per house will be €170. Businesses pay almost twice as much as private householders for the service.
At this stage, 42% of all waste generated in Killarney is recycled. In 2008, the council will spend a little more than €14 million, an increase of €1.16m on the current year.
Independent councillor Donal Grady hit out at the slow rate of progress in shortening the list of 600 qualified applicants waiting for council houses.
“We built only 60 houses in the last three years. This is a disgrace,” he claimed.
He welcomed progress in refurbishing houses but called on the council to ask the Department of the Environment to allocate more money for the purchase of building land in Killarney.
The council hopes to complete a further 60 houses, at Dereen, by November 2008.
Labour councillor Sean O’Grady said the council was finding it very difficult to compete with private developers when such land came on the market.
“We’ve had situations in the past seven or eight years where we just couldn’t buy land,” he remarked.