Dozens of homeowners residing in unfinished estates across the county are facing property tax bills of over €200 a year after last week’s changes to the Government’s eligibilty list.
Clean-up operations and public safety works carried out in several so-called ‘ghost estates’ has seen the number of developments qualify for property tax exemptions fall by 75 per cent.
Newly released figures have shown just 14 developments now qualify for the waiver, down from the 54 estates originally dropped from the county’s household charge register.
A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment said the reasons for the downsizing were largely due to recent public safety and improvement works carried out in many estates.
“There was a survey done in 2010 which was updated in 2011 and this is a further update of that,” said the spokesperson.
“Part of the household charge (list) also included developments that wouldn’t have got above ground level. There was also developments that may have been done in three or four stages. At that stage, if phase one and two had been completed, but four and five had not got that far, the entire development was excluded at that stage. This time around what you have estates which perhaps didn’t meet the earlier criteria included.”
In February, the Leader told of how significant advances had been made in over 60 per cent of Co Longford’s 128 incomplete housing estates.
Since last June, eight developments have been taken in charge by the council with five requiring no further action to be taken.
Over the past eight months, council staff have secured cash bonds enabling them to carry out improvements in 11 estates. A further four sites have seen bonds being called in as local authority staff executives press ahead with ‘taking in charge’ or assuming responsibility for an additional 15 developments later this year.
Interestingly nevertheless, department officials ruled out the possibility of additions being made to the 14 Co Longford estates presently excluded from the State’s property tax net.
“Every local authority carried out the survey on our (Government’s) behalf. They sent out staff to carry it out and there is no appeals mechanism,” added the spokesperson.
*The following are the 14 estates across Co Longford classed as being exempt from the Local Property Tax:
-Abhainn Glass (Edgeworthstown),
-Cluain Doire (Newtownforbes),
-Cluain Ri (Ballymahon),
-Corncrake Meadows (Abbeyshrule),
-Forthill (Aughnacliffe), -Gleann Riada (Longford ),
-Leader Park (Longford ),
-McArt Meadows (Newtownforbes),
-Radharc An Dun (Edgeworthstown),
-Rath Na Carraige (Carrickboy),
-Silver Birches (Longford), -Sli Corglass (Moyne),
-Sliabh Rua (Drumlish) and
The Rocks (Longford).