End of €6k pay to policy chairs

by Gazette Reporter
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THE Government has said the possibility of reducing or completely doing away with development levies in councils to facilitate the construction of housing is being considered in the context of Budget 2016.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environment said this was just one of a number of proposals being considered for the budget, which is to be announced on October 13, but stressed no decision had yet been made.
If approved, it is likely the Government would compensate local authorities for lost revenue.

Fingal County Council collected a total of €11m in development levies in 2014, and €13.7m in the first nine months of 2015.
Cllr Roderic O’Gorman (GP) criticised the proposal, saying the income generated through development
levies was integral to the provision of infrastructure around Fingal.
He said: “Fingal and the other local authorities use the money they receive from development levies to fund the provision of infrastructure around the county. If the Government stops us from claiming this money from developers, where are we going to make up the shortfall?
“Is the Government going to commit to supplying the missing income? If they don’t, then councils will be forced to increase business rates or the local property tax.”
Cllr Justin Sinnott (Ind) also criticised the proposal, saying it could affect the maintenance of parks, playgrounds, roads and special works programmes.

He believes it is unfeasible for the council to do without this income, and questioned whether the Department of Environment has the funds to reimburse each local authority.
The Department of Environment declined to comment, saying: “Nothing has been decided in relation to this at the moment. It is one of a number of suggestions to be considered in the context of the budget.”

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