THE BODY representing the managers of Ireland’s county and city councils has shared its “disappointment” at the nationwide level of household charge payments.
The statement from the County and City Managers’ Association (CCMA) comes a day after reports that environment minister Phil Hogan had written to council managers informing them of cuts to their budgets as a result of the low payment rates in their counties.
In a statement issued at a meeting today, the CCMA said the cuts to local authority funding were a direct result of low compliance levels with the charge.
“This reduction in the Local Government Fund will result in services and supports being cut at a local level,” managers said, adding that the new funding cutbacks would be discussed with councillors as soon as possible.
The cutbacks come at a difficult time for councils, however – most councils do not schedule a monthly meeting of their councillors for August, meaning in some cases it may be several weeks before elected representatives can meet formally to discuss the pared-back funding.
CCMA chairman Hubert Kearns said the level of funding cuts could be directly reduced “if those who have not yet paid the household charge come forward and pay the charge as soon as possible”.
“Early payment will also prevent further penalties accruing,” he said.
Poor payment rate
The latest figures for household charge registrations, compiled by the Local Government Management Agency last Friday, showed that an estimated 986,676 households had either paid the €100 charge, or registered for a waiver from it.
That number includes households who had paid the charge after the original March 31 deadline, thereby incurring extra cash penalties of €10 per quarter and 1 per cent per month.
The figure marks 62 per cent of the 1.6 million households which the government claims are required to register for the charge or its waiver, but just under 55 per cent of the 1.8 million figure cited by the charge’s opponents.