Friday 20 February 2009

Developers owe capital's council almost €25m

DUBLIN City Council is owed almost €25m in development levies from builders who cannot afford to pay up.

And yesterday it emerged that another €118m in levies is under threat because some developments already granted planning permission might not go ahead. The money is paid by developers as part of their planning permission after building work commences and is earmarked to pay for roads, water, parks, sewerage and other essential services.

But city councillors on the Finance Special Policy Committee will be told next week that officials are chasing developers for €25m, and that budgets will have to be amended to take account of the falling revenue.

Development levies will pay for 8.1pc of the council's capital projects budget this year, which totals €345.5m. It expects levies to pay for almost €28m worth of projects, some of which could be under threat.

Plans were also made to spend the €118m due in levies, but after the economic downturn put hundreds of projects on hold the money is not being paid over.

"Some of it is owed for developments already done, and the rest is for developments that might not proceed," Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said.

"There is a problem about collection. There's a fault line in the linking of income to the council with the granting of permissions.


"There is going to be enormous problems in the city council over the next couple of years. The real problem is the repayments for work that's already under way. There's a real problem for funding of local authorities, and they're huge issues."

The move comes as figures supplied to councillors show that the amount being generated through levies has dramatically fallen in the last year.

Figures obtained by Fine Gael councillor Naoise O Muiri show that the levies peaked at a total of €68m in 2007, up from €57m in 2006 and €63m in 2005.

But last year the amount dropped to just €30m, and city management expect the amount to fall to €25m this year.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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