Council owed €9m

Laois County Council is owed €9million in unpaid development levies, rates and commercial water charges, according to the 2010 Audit Report. Representing more than 10% of the council’s total spending for that year, head of finance Gerry Murphy said the Council was actively pursuing the recovery of all debts, but admitted that some of the amount outstanding would have to be written off.

Laois County Council is owed €9million in unpaid development levies, rates and commercial water charges, according to the 2010 Audit Report. Representing more than 10% of the council’s total spending for that year, head of finance Gerry Murphy said the Council was actively pursuing the recovery of all debts, but admitted that some of the amount outstanding would have to be written off.

Over half of the debt is owed from developments which took place in the boom. Last November, the council confirmed that they had arranged for some developers to pay in three or six month installments.

Over €5m of the total amount outstanding relates to these development contributions which were used to pay for improving facilities such as libraries and swimming pools, or upgrading footpaths and filling in potholes.

“€5.3 million of the amount relates to development contributions. €2 million of this is expected to be collected by the end of 2012,” Mr Murphy said.

Almost €2m of the total amount relates to unpaid commercial water charges. The 2010 audit report revealed that almost half of these charges remained unpaid.

In the report, County Manager, Peter Carey said that the per centage yield from commercial water had decreased from 67% in 2006 to 50% in 2010. Total arrears amounted to €1.8m at the end of 2010.

Arrears in rates rose by almost half a million in 2010, rising to €1.9m at the end of the year.

Mr Murphy admitted that the total amount owed to the council was of concern.

“The overall figures are a concern for the Council and have been factored into the 2012 revenue budget. The Council is actively pursuing the recovery of all debts and have initiated legal proceedings to recover same where customers have not engaged adequately with the Council.

“Some element of the amount outstanding will be written off where they are deemed to be irrecoverable,” he said.