Friday 20 February 2009

Dublin local authorities owed up to €322m in unpaid levies

THE FOUR Dublin local authorities are collectively owed up to €322 million from property developers in unpaid levies.

Dublin City Council is owed €142 million in development levy contributions by builders according to a report to be presented to the council’s finance committee next week.

While €118 million relates to developments which have not yet been completed, €28 million remains outstanding from developers whose schemes are completed but have not paid their debt to the council.

Developers of residential or commercial schemes, as a condition of planning permission, must pay a levy towards council costs of providing water, roads and sewerage for their developments. Levies in the city are €13,908 per unit for residential projects and €132 per sq m for commercial or industrial schemes.

Fingal County Council is owed €70 million, the bulk of which is now subject to phased payments that have been agreed with the developers. However, the council said it would institute legal proceedings if the money was not forthcoming.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said it is owed a “nominal figure” of €86.7 million, but that the actual figure would be much less because of issues relating to duplicate permission for the one site, and phased payments that have yet to be tallied.

South Dublin County Council said it was owed in the region of €22.5 million in development levies.

Separately, Dublin City Council is facing a massive drop in funding for the city’s infrastructure, following a fall of more than 55 per cent in the value of levies paid by developers due to the downturn in construction.

The council brought in almost €68 million in development levies in 2007. In 2008, it collected just €30 million in levies and is expecting to get less than €25 million this year.

Levies are collected by the council on a quarterly basis and dwindled over the course of last year from almost €12 million in the first three months to just under €4 million in the last three months of the year.

The money is ringfenced and used to fund the development of the city’s capital infrastructure. The council expects to fund eight percent of infrastructure from this source in 2009.

Fine Gael councillor Naoise Ó Muirí said the council needed to find new sources of funding for the city’s infrastructure and should consider the introduction of an investment bond scheme.

“We can’t afford to take this hit on our capital budget without generating new income. The Government could facilitate Dublin City Council in moving to municipal bonds, or ‘munis’, as an alternative source of funding,” he said.

Irish Times

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