Just over half pay household charge

The current compliance rate for the county in the Household Charge is at 53.5% and the County Manager has urged people to pay the charge.

The current compliance rate for the county in the Household Charge is at 53.5% and the County Manager has urged people to pay the charge.

Speaking at a meeting of Donegal County Council recently, Seamus Neely said it was important to highlight the link between the council’s “capacity to deliver service and income from the charge.”

His manager’s report outlined that adjustments to Local Government Fund Allocations to local authorities was based on compliance with the Household Charge and the latest Local Government circular was issued in September and states a “tiered reduction” in funding will apply.

Currently Donegal has 53.5% compliance, which did not include any payments in transit within the last 14 days of their last monthly meeting in Lifford, and sits in the “Less than %60 compliance“ bracket resulting int he higher reduction.

Under the 60% mark is a reduction of €309,458, while a compliance rate of 5% more at 60% halves the reduction to €154729.

He said that at the September Council meeting he updated the council of the implications of the Local Government circular issued in July indicating the adjustment to the local Government Fund allocation to made to each Local authority of 2012, as a result of projected compliance rates with Household Charge payments nationally.

“This circular provided for an immediate reduction of €1,016,872 from the 2012 third quarter allocation with a prospective total reduction of up to €4,076487, pending review by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government of ongoing Household charge compliance payment nationally and at county level.”

Speaking of the latest circular from Government: “This circular confirms the third quarter reduction of €1,106,872 and provides no further reductions if the county achieves a 65% compliance by mid-November. A tiered reduction will apply based on compliance levels as follows: Less than 60% compliance = €309,458 reduction. Less than 56% compliance = €154,729.”

He stated the maximum overall reduction in the Local Government Fund for 2012 will be €1,326, depending on Household Charge compliance between then and mid November.

He added: “Whilst the revised arrangements of the circular of the 21st of September area significant improvement on the position which I reported in September, it is important to again highlight the link between the council’s capacity to deliver services and income from the charge.”

Mr Neely also apologised to those home who were sent warning letters on the paying charge when they had already done so or to people who had died.

He explained: “As a consequence of this revised circular and in order to minimise the reduction, approximately 32,000 letters were issued to households in the county, based on information contained in a national data set.

“Regrettable as a result of some anomalies in the data, letters issued in error to some householders who had already paid the charge and to persons now deceased. I want to take the opportunity to apologise for any distress that this has caused.”

Charges and interest continue to accrue into the future where the charge had not been paid and there has been indications the enforcement of collection will transfer to the Revenue, he added.