Rates owed to council came to around €13m

UP TO 1,250 commercial rates arrears cases with an approximate value of €13 million – an average of €10,400 per premises – were processed through South Dublin County Council’s law department in 2015.

Over half of the council’s revenue income is derived from commercial rates.

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Council management say 52 per cent of cases processed through the law department were either paid or arrangements were entered for payment.

Cases are only referred to the law department when all other debt recovery options have been exhausted.

The total arrears for commercial rates in the county reduced from €30.3 million in 2014, to €27 million in 2015.

Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin said: “The collection rate has improved as we emerge from a very challenging economic position. The issue of debt collection has also been examined nationally and revised, and enhanced powers of collection are being considered for incorporation into rates legislation.”

The details are contained within the Local Government Audit Service for the year ending 2015.

The LGAS provides independent scrutiny of finances within local authorities and other local bodies.

Financial statements of local authorities are prepared to December 31 each year, and audits for 2014 were completed in 2015.

According to the audit, South Dublin County Council recorded a surplus of €49.17k after net transfers to reserves of €18.9 million, according to.

This represents a reduction of €1.27m on the previous year’s figure of €1.32 million. The cumulative revenue balance was €12 million at year end 2015.

Housing rents collection improved by one per cent in 2015 – to €7.9 million – or 74 per cent of the total housing yield.

Management expect collection figures to show a “substantial improvement in 2015.”

The council’s capital debt includes bridging loans of approximately €33.9 million in respect of the acquisition of 139 affordable houses – allocated to voluntary bodies under the Social Leasing Scheme.

The LGAS noted a balance of €27 million remains on outstanding housing capital accounts “which requires a considerable amount of work.”

A spokesperson for SDCC told The Echo: “The Local Government Auditor is keen to see accounts in the sum of €27m finalised, which the council are currently processing with the Dept of Housing, while progressing with its current ambitious housing programme, which will see in excess of €140m spent over the next three years addressing the housing needs of the people in South Dublin County.”

SDCC say they’ve spent over €104m “providing much-needed housing services to the people of South Dublin County in the past five years.”

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