Almost half pay €100

Longford County Council received 5,600 payments of the Household Charge by the midnight deadline last Saturday.

Longford County Council received 5,600 payments of the Household Charge by the midnight deadline last Saturday.

A spokesperson for the Council said this represents approximately 50 percent of the estimated number of houses liable for the charge and is in line with the national average.

It is expected these figures will rise, as there is a large volume of postal applications on hand in the Household Charge bureau or in transit to the bureau from over the weekend.

The Co Council offices opened last Saturday to cater for people wanting to pay the charge on the last day, with over 250 payments processed at the counter.

Over the weekend, some local authorities were criticised by Minister of State, Lucinda Creighton, TD for being less than co-operative in terms of encouraging households to register for the charge, but Head of Finance at Longford County Council, Barry Lynch does not feel this charge could be levelled at Longford Co Council.

“I can only speak for Longford and I can say we were very proactive in terms of publicity for the household charge, both through the Leader and with local radio stations. We opened the offices last Saturday as well, which was a success.”

It had been reported in the national media last week that local authorities will begin a door to door survey of households to note who has registered, but Mr Lynch has said that instruction has not been received by Longford Co Council.

“There are no plans at present to pursue people at a local level. The National Treasury Management Agency are compiling a database at present and they’re comparing data from other sources which we don’t have access to, and realistically we have to wait until they have done that,” Mr Lynch said.

“In terms of Longford, we will require funding from the household charge to contribute to running the day-to-day services, such as footpaths, lighting and other essential services. If there’s a shortfall in funding it will have a big effect,” Mr Lynch added.

Anyone who pays the Household Charge over the next six months is liable for a €10 fine and an interest penalty of one percent per month. Therefore, a household paying the charge this month owe €111. After six months, the penalty becomes 20 percent of the amount outstanding; after a year it becomes 30 percent.