Longford Co Council has revealed they have not received any instructions as how any shortfall in funding is to be dealt with, given the lower than expected returns from the Household Charge.
In a statement to this paper, the Council said any shortfall will likely result in cuts to services.
“Given that the scope to raise any additional revenue is limited, the shortfall will have to be made up by way of expenditure cuts. This will have implications for any services not covered by direct grants such as some categories of road maintenance, housing maintenance, street cleaning and libraries.”
There is still a large volume of postal applications to be processed so definitive figures by county are not available at this stage, but over 50 per cent of households in Longford are estimated to have paid the €100 charge.
Longford Co. Council receives 28 per cent of its day-to-day funding from the Local Government Fund General Purpose Grant (LGF) with its 2012 allocation standing at €11,252,795. A further 27 per cent of income comes in the form of direct grants to services such as Housing, Roads, Environment and Higher Education Grants.
At a national level, income from the Household charge was estimated at €160 million, which will account for approximately 14 per cent of the overall LGF. It is not yet clear at this point how much of the €160 million will be collected, but as of last Saturday 900,000 households had registered for the charge.
However, for example, if just 60 per cent of households nationwide pay the household charge this would be a €64 million shortfall for the Department, or a 5.6 percent cut in income for the LGF. If this 5.6 percent shortfall was passed on to each individual authority it would equate to a cut in funding for Longford Co Council of €633, 044 for this year.
This shortfall would have to be made up by spending cuts unless the Department maintained current levels of funding, which they have have made clear they will not.
County manager, Tim Caffrey, thanked all the householders who had already paid the charge, but added: “The collection of the charge is critical to enable the Councils to continue to provide local essential services including fire and emergency, roads, water, housing, parks, libraries and our arts programme.
“The unfortunate reality now is that we need this money to continue providing vital local services and it is money the Government have made clear they do not have to give us,” Mr Caffrey said.
Longford Co Council anticipate “the likely trend on the household charge will become clearer by mid year and this will inform any necessary expenditure adjustments.”