City has third highest Household Charge compliance rate

At 85 per cent Galway city has the third highest rate of compliance nationally in the payment of the Household Charge with in excess of 23,000 households having registered and paid to date, according to the Galway City Council’s Mid Year Financial Report 2013.

The report, which was presented at the monthly meeting, shows the local authority’s income for the first six months of this year stating that from July 1 the Revenue Commissioners will be responsible for the collection of outstanding payments of the Household Charge.

However, the report also revealed how there is concern over the payment of commercial rates. Receipts from commercial rates to date amount to €13.7 million and although this is an increase on the amount received at the same date last year it is “still well below that anticipated”. The report stated: “While recognising the difficulties that businesses are currently encountering the council expects all rate payers to make contact with the council and reach an agreement on the settlement of their liability. Legal action will be taken where there is non-cooperation or failure to agree a reasonable payment plan. The increase in the number of vacant premises, together with the notifications of liquidations continues to erode our main income stream. Income from commercial water charges is also adversely impacted.”

The report further explained that the council continues to await legislation providing for a rates rebate of 50 per cent on vacant premises. The NPPR charge was due on March 31, 2013, and payable by June 30, 2013, and this has generated €1.76 million to date. The budgeted income for 2013 is €2.5 million and the council will be issuing further reminders in the coming months.

Regarding expenditure the report stated that the recruitment moratorium, controls on overtime, and restrictions on non-essential expenditure are proving effective in maintaining expenditure within budget. Capital expenditure in the second quarter of 2013 has been incurred on the progerssion of the N6 corridor enhancement, Rahoon Road bus lane, Galway City Water conservation project, and the completion of the Cappagh Park Community facility.

The report warned that further budgetary adjustments during the second half of the year could be necessary as well as further adjustments to the council’s work programme.

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