Mayo County Council’s performance in collecting on rents, rates, and loans has been found to be below par in an audit just published by the Local Government Audit Service for the Department of the Environment.
The report notes that collection yields by Mayo County Council in respect of housing rents and annuities and housing loans remain weak.
“In addition rates have continued to show a slippage from previous years,” the report states. “This has resulted in rate arrears increasing from €1.3m in 2009 to €2.1m in 2010.
“Some individual arrears particularly in housing loans also give cause for concern. The percentage collection of 51 per cent (49 per cent in 2009 ) for commercial water charges, while showing an increase on previous years, remains problematic.
“Every effort should be made to reduce these arrears including the withdrawal of the service and the use of legal remedies where appropriate. Consideration should also be given to increasing the bad debts provision on some of these collection accounts.”
Mayo county manager Peter Hynes responded to the findings: “Revenue collection continues to be challenging in the current difficult economic climate. The reduction in rates collection reflects the fact that more businesses are opting for payments plans for repayment of rates which extend into the new year.
In the period January to March 2011 a further €1.7 million was collected in rates, of which €600,000 related to arrears at 31 December 2010.
“Collection of water charges continues to improve with a 14 per cent increase in collections over the past two years. Efforts continue to increase collection yields further.”