Small rise in new household charge figures

There has been an almost a 20 percent increase in the number of homes registered for the household charge in Longford since the figures were released after the March 31 deadline.

There has been an almost a 20 percent increase in the number of homes registered for the household charge in Longford since the figures were released after the March 31 deadline.

A total of 6, 918 properties have been processed for Co Longford through both online and manual channels as of Monday morning, a jump from the 5,600 households registered by March 31.

Many of these were postal applications that reached the bureau by March 31 but were not processed until recently. However, as there is still a backlog of manual forms being processed by the bureau the final tallies in respect of each county are not yet known.

Nationally, 892,764 homes were processed by Monday afternoon but due to the number of applications on hand the Department of the Environment estimate 942, 584 households are now registered.

Early estimates had predicted that 12,000 homes would be eligible to pay the charge in Co Longford but the Council has said this figure is not yet clear, stating that “in the absence of a national database of residential property the number of properties liable for the charge has yet to be determined.”

Despite the increase in numbers in Longford, it is still clear the number who have paid is significantly less than the amount of properties in the county, with County manager Tim Caffrey predicting a shortfall in income for local authorities to the tune of €1.2 million in April.

Those paying the household charge this month with be liable for a €10 late payment fee and a one percent interest charge for each month overdue, meaning those paying in June will pay €113.

In a statement, Longford County Council said, “follow up action is due to begin shortly for property owners who have not paid to date. In order to avoid a further build up of interest and penalties anyone who has not yet paid should now register and pay the charge.”

It is not yet clear what the follow-up will be, but it is expected the action will be organised at a local level rather than as a national campaign. A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment stated to the Leader that it is “entirely a matter for county and city councils to have appropriate arrangements in place for the collection of household charges and late payment penalties.”

Property owners in 54 unfinished estates in Longford are eligible for a waiver, with the qualifying estates listed on the householdcharge.ie website. However, to qualify the property must still be registered with the authorities either online or through the Longford Co Council income generation unit at Camlin Court, Longford.