€1.6 million loss for council on household charge compliance

The Government has warned Kilkenny County Council that the council could lose up to €1.6 million in funding this year because of the household charge not being paid.

The Government has warned Kilkenny County Council that the council could lose up to €1.6 million in funding this year because of the household charge not being paid.

The council was due to receive around €12 million from the Government in 2012 to fund local services, to be paid in instalments.

A letter sent from the Department of the Environment on July 18, however, informed the council that it would be receiving €1.6 million less this year based on the county’s compliance with payment of the €100 household charge. The department says that Kilkenny has a 56% compliance rate with the tax.

The funding reduction will come into effect in September, when the next instalment of Government funding is due to the council – and the council has been informed that this will be around €400,000 less than what it was due to be.

It is expected that the county’s level of compliance with the household charge between now and the end of the year will determine how much of the remaining €1.2 million will be withheld.

A second letter sent by the department to the council last week said that it aimed to clarify misinformation that was circulating about the cuts in Government funding of the councils.

It informed the council that it would be possible to progressively recoup the original grant allocation through improved compliance with the household charge.

The difficulty for the council is that, while members of the public can pay the charge in the council office and while the reminder letters are being sent out locally, the overall charge is centrally administered.

Because the council does not have a database of people who still owe the charge, it has limited options for pursuing those who have not paid.