Donegal County Council has admitted there are likely to be serious implications for services over the coming months if the Local Government Fund allocation remains reduced as recently advised by a Circular from the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government.
Director of Finance with the Council, Mr. Garry Martin, indicated that the Circular clearly clarified the link between Household Charge Payment performance in each county and the level of Local Government Fund that each county could ultimately expect to receive.
“Ultimately the Council does not want to find itself in a position where consideration is required to having to reduce various expenditure headings.
“However, it is clear that unless there is a material increase in the overall level of payment in Co. Donegal that this may very well manifest itself in the coming months.
“An increase in the payment of the Household Charge in Donegal to an acceptable level will, based upon Department indications, ensure that the level of reduction in the Local Government Fund is minimised.
“At present the reduction is a figure in excess of €4m. Clearly such a reduction in our expenditure capacity would have substantially detrimental effects on the services that we provide. However, we are attempting to manage this on an interim basis with a view to assessing how effective our appeals for an increase in the payment of the Household Charge will be.
“This matter will be reviewed in September and we will be in a better position at that point in time then to assess what the likely prospect of mitigation is in relation to the reductions in expenditure.”
Referring again to the almost 50% of persons liable to pay who have paid in Donegal, the Director of Finance thanked them for their continued positive engagement with the Council and thanked them for their payment of the Household Charge over the past number of months.
“I would appeal again to those who have not yet paid the charge to do so at the earliest possible opportunity, given that the charge is clearly one that is linked to our capacity to provide the planned services for the year.
“Furthermore, from the perspective of the person that owes the charge, each month sees unnecessary additional charges and interest accruing,” he said.
The charge if paid during August and including interest and penalties to date amounts to €115 and can be paid at any Council Office throughout the County or if more convenient, through www.householdcharge.ie.