Cuts can be reversed if householders pay up
By Kernan Andrews
Almost 40 per cent of households in the Galway County Council region have yet to pay the controversial household charge, according to figures released by the local authority this week.
The county council confirmed on Wednesday that more than €3.8 million has been received to date from 38,447 county households .
The council also confirmed 2,670 households have responded to a request made in July for people who had not yet paid the charge to do so. This response has generated an additional income of more than €289,000. This amounts to a compliance rate of 62 per cent.
The council is now calling on the remaining 38 per cent to pay up to “minimise” cuts to local services and communities introduced in July in response to the potential reduction of €3.1 million in the council’s Local Government Fund allocation.
The introduction of “very unpalatable cuts” in July saw suspension of housing grants to older people and people with disabilities; withholding grants for various community initiatives; suspension of expenditure on library books; and a reduction in front-line services.
However a letter received from the Department of Environment suggestedlocal authorities may progressively regain their original level of funding if those households who had not yet paid their household charge do so.
“It is necessary for households to fulfil their legal obligation to pay the household charge in order to maximise the potential for the full level of funding allocated to the council,” said deputy county manager Ger Mullarkey. “The reinstatement of the original level of funding would allow for the unpalatable cuts to local services implemented in July to be reversed.”
The household charge can be paid via www.householdcharge.ie or at County Buildings/Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill.