Residential estates across Salthill, Knocknacarra, and The Claddagh could be provided with funding of up to €1.5 million over the next five years to tackle local issues.
Fianna Fáil candidate for the Galway City West David Burke, is proposing a new financing plan to the Galway City Council which would ring fence up to 10 per cent of the total property tax paid in each estate or road for essential works that are required in each area.
“The basic premise of the plan is that the substantial property tax, which these estates will be paying in 2014, should be used to service the very areas it is collected from,” he said.
Mr Burke believes that if City Hall implements the plan, it would provide the funds necessary for the upkeep of social housing, to improve lighting, remove graffiti, repair potholes, carry out road maintenance, tackle anti-social behaviour, and maintain green areas.
The total property tax estimated to be paid in 2014, 2015, and 2016 in the Galway City West electoral ward is €4.1 million. The Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said that 80 per cent of the proceeds of the controversial tax will be returned to each council nationally for the provision of local services and infrastructure.
Eighty per cent of €4.1 million equates to €3.28 million a year in Galway City West. According to Mr Burke, a chartered accountant, if this funding is approved, then up to 10 per cent of the tax which is returned to City Hall in 2015 being made available to residential estates would equate to c€328,000 a year. Over a five year period, this would equate to €1.5 million
“The scheme would enable residents associations across Galway city apply for funding for key issues in their area which need to be tackled,” said Mr Burke. “It would include the likely cost; the proposed suppliers, subject to a tender process; and the feedback from local residents on why they want these issues tackled.”
Mr Burke said it would be a capital programme for residential estates similar to the Sports Capital Grant Scheme, but at a local level, and help address problems residents’ associations “do not have funding for at the moment”.
At present, residents’ associations receive €250 a year from the council. The graffiti grant, which was previously available from City Hall, was withdrawn in 2013. Apart from that, committees must rely on subscriptions from each household.
“People need to be empowered to get the issues that affect them tackled,” said Mr Burke. “I believe a scheme like this would be a good first step in getting the people and issues that matter to them addressed.”