Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request has revealed details on Longford County Council’s fixed assets, operational expenditure, and consultancy and professional fees for 2011.
The request was lodged by TheStory.ie - a website which compiles data and promotes transparency in Irish public life.
According to the information, the total value of the local authority’s fixed assets in 2011 amounted to a total of €1,060,395,067.78.
This figure includes the values of the national, regional and local road networks in the county and other infrastructure, such as water and sewerage schemes, fire stations, libraries, and burial grounds.
It also includes a significant number of residential properties, many of which are listed with values significantly higher than those of other similar, privately-owned dwellings in their vicinities.
When asked why this was the case, a Longford Co Council spokesperson said: “Houses would have been capitalised in the financial system on the following basis; (a) if the house predated 2003, at a current valuation in 2003, (b) if the house was bought or constructed sine 2003, at the actual historical cost.”
The spokesperson went on to say that, “As most of the items in LCC’s housing stock would have been acquired before the property crash the historic costs are much higher than current value.
“However, it should be noted that only a small number of local authority houses are actually sold.
“Most will be retained in stock. Market value is not a consideration where the house is not going to be sold. Any accounting adjustments for net realisable value are dealt with at the time of sale in accordance with Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government requirements.”
Asked about the situation regarding property tax on these buildings, the spokesperson confirmed the Co Council was responsible for paying the levy.
Also included in the Freedom of Information request were details of the consultancy and professional fees paid out by the Co Council in 2011, which came to a total of €545,069.33. Legal fees accounted for almost half of this figure, with one local firm of solicitors - E C Gearty & Co - receiving €235,209.67 for services provided to the local authority in 2011.