Unpaid levies is money “robbed from communities and house buyers” and the Galway City Council must be “relentless” in pursuing those developers who still have not paid up.
This is the view of Labour councillor Derek Nolan who was reacting to figures released by City Hall this week regarding the money still owed to the local authority by developers.
The figures have also led Fine Gael councillor Hildegarde Naughton to call for new legislation to force developers to guarantee levy payments in advance of building work.
Earlier this year, following a question from Cllr Naughton, councillors were informed that €5,164,070 was still outstanding in development levies owed to City Hall.
In a letter sent to councillors recently, the council’s director of services Tom Connell outlined the sums of money involved and gave details “pertaining to the court proceedings being taken by the city council in the recovery of outstanding developmetn contribution levies”.
Furthermore District Court orders have been obtained for seven developers totalling €482,074. There are also High Court proceedings amounting to €468,389 against Harrmack Developments for a residential development in Fionnuiska, Doughiska. District Court proceedings of €412,401 account for a further 10 developments.
Cllr Nolan was alarmed at the figures and said it was “shocking” how almost 90 per cent of the money for which the council has gone to court for concerns developments in Doughiska.
According to the figures from the city council, a further €393,275 is owed from developments at Fionnuiska; €77,053 from Ince Beag; €40,200 for apartment developments in Doughiska Road; €85,150 for a commercial and residential development on Sraith Fada; €5,204 for development at Fearann Rí; and €145,500 for development at Maigh Rua.
Cllr Nolan called on City Hall to be “relentless in pursuing these levies” as it is “money used for community infrastructure like green areas, footpaths, and community centres”.
Cllr Naughton is deeply concerned by the sums of money the council is owed by developers. Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, she said the unpaid levies are “another example of the reckless building boom” where developments were allowed proceed “without a binding guarantee to meet the necessary requirements such as the payment of levies”.
Cllr Naughton said there are “too many loopholes in the system” which allow developers to avoid paying levies. As a result she is calling on the Environment Minister John Gormley to bring forward legislation to ensure that for future developments, levy payments are guaranteed before planning permission is granted.
“The city council is facing a major financial crisis and these levies are much needed,” she said. “We should not find ourselves in