Property Taxation Exemptions

Questions (176)

Seán Fleming

Question:

176. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of housing units on a county by county basis that are included in the unfinished estates in respect of the exemption for the local property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18045/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

A full listing of the developments to which an exemption from the local property tax applies is available on my Department's website at www.environ.ie

Household Charge Collection

Questions (177)

Seán Fleming

Question:

177. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of people who have paid the household charge up to the end of 2012; the number of people who have paid it up to the current date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18046/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the Household Charge. Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date is liable to pay the Household Charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. It is a matter for an owner of a residential property to determine liability and pay the Charge.

The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. I understand from data provided by the Agency that the number of registrations, including waiver registrations, for the Household Charge was 1,129,521 up to the end of 2012 . As of 15 April 2013 , the number had increased to 1,189,768.

Property Taxation Exemptions

Questions (178)

Seán Fleming

Question:

178. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline the methodology used by his Department in deciding the areas deemed unfinished estates in respect of the local property tax and the type of information supplied from local authorities in relation to this process; if the information from the local authorities was accepted by his Department in all cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18047/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

An exemption from the local property tax applies to developments listed in the schedule to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Regulations 2013.

The list of unfinished housing developments eligible for the exemption was compiled by local authorities utilising the categorisation employed for the purposes of the National Housing Survey 2012.

The Survey was carried out over the course of summer 2012 by my Department in conjunction with local authorities and the Housing Agency.

The categorisation methodology for the survey was different to that which was used in 2011 and which provided the basis for the waiver from the household charge. That earlier categorisation related largely to the level of on-site activity at the time the 2011 survey was carried out and had less to do with the physical character of a development. The 2012 survey was based purely and objectively on the actual state of completion of a development. Only developments that were deemed by local authorities to be in a “seriously problematic condition”, regardless of whether a developer was on or off site, were included.

For purposes of preparing the final list of developments to which the exemption from the local property tax would apply local authorities were asked by my Department to confirm or update the then existing list as appropriate.

Flood Risk Assessments

Questions (179)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent to which the drainage issues affecting the Waterways Estate in Sallins, County Kildare and publicly referred to by his predecessor have been addressed and attended to in accordance with the recommendations and report following extensive flooding thereat in 2009/2010; if the planning authority has met its obligations in relation to this matter; if any evaluation has been done as to the viability and efficacy of the original attenuation drainage/storage provisions; if any and all outstanding works arising from the completion of the development in accordance with planning permission conditions have been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18064/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) provides that a planning authority may attach conditions to a planning permission including related to the provision of infrastructure such as drainage. It is a matter for the planning authority to decide on the planning conditions to be attached including the enforcement of these conditions thereafter.

My Department understands from Kildare County Council that the matter is now resolved on foot of remedial works undertaken and the Council has also undertaken to write to the Deputy to outline the position.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

Questions (180)

Pat Deering

Question:

180. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount of money allocated for group sewerage schemes in 2013; and the location and amount allocated for each. [18075/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Responsibility for the administration of the Rural Water Programme, which includes group sewerage schemes, has been devolved to local authorities since 1997.

In December 2012 I announced an increase in the grant for group sewerage schemes to €6,500 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme, whichever is the lesser. The previous rate of grant available was €2,031.58 per house or 75% of the cost, whichever was the lesser.

I propose, in the first instance, to carry out a number of pilot schemes based on the increased grant level. My Department asked local authorities to include in their requests for funding under the 2013 Rural Water Programme proposals for group sewerage schemes which might be viable based on the increased grant.

Following an examination of the proposals received, I approved grant assistance last month towards the following pilot schemes:

County

Scheme Name

Approved Grant

Clare

Woodview, Ennis

€90,000

Kildare

Boston Cottages

€60,000

Kilkenny

Toortane

€105,000

Laois

Derrymoyle

€35,301

Leitrim

Jamestown Rue

€93,000

Offaly

Mlitary Road, Birr

€39,000

Westmeath

Ballykeeran Big

€84,500

Wexford

Coolbawn / Ferns

€14,083

TOTALS

€520,884

Progress on these pilot schemes will be reviewed in due course with a view to deciding how best to proceed with the grant scheme.

Local Elections

Questions (181, 182)

Pat Deering

Question:

181. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the report from the Boundary Commission on the Local Elections will be complete; and when its findings will be made available. [18076/13]

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Pat Deering

Question:

182. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the report from the Boundary Commission on the European Elections will be complete; and when its findings will be made available. [18077/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 182 together.

I established a Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee on 15 November 2012 to review and make recommendations on the division of each council area, other than Cork City, into local electoral areas, and to make recommendations on the number of members of each council to be assigned to each local electoral area. The Committee was requested to submit its report as soon as possible and, in any event, not later than 31 May 2013.

Constituencies for European Parliament elections were most recently reported on in the 2012 Constituency Commission Report, where no change to the existing arrangement of European Parliament constituencies was recommended. At the time of that report there was no change to the number of members to be elected in Ireland. However, with the accession of Croatia to the European Union this year, there is a need to adjust the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. This is done on the initiative of the European Parliament which adopted a resolution on 13 March 2013 on the composition of the European Parliament for the 2014 – 2019 term. That resolution includes a reduction, from twelve to eleven, in the number of representatives to be elected in Ireland. The matter will next go to the European Council for decision by unanimity and with the consent of the European Parliament.

In the event that the number of MEPs to be elected to represent Ireland is reduced it will be necessary to review and revise the constituency arrangement. This can be addressed once decisions are made in Europe. In the meantime my Department is giving consideration to how such a review might be carried out having regard to the provisions of the relevant legislation, that is the Electoral Act 1997 and the European Parliament Elections Act 1997.

Leader Programmes Funding

Questions (183, 188)

Pat Deering

Question:

183. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there is enough funding allocated to support all projects announced for LEADER funding. [18080/13]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

188. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when permission will be given to the local integrated LEADER companies to sanction projects again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18155/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 188 together.

In late 2011 the European Commission approved a change in the maximum co-funding rate from 55% to 85% for the Axes 3 and 4 elements (LEADER) of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013. Prior to this the LEADER elements were co-funded at a rate of 55% by the EU, with the remaining 45% coming from national exchequer sources. The 2011 agreement reduced the national exchequer input to 15% on a net basis for 2012 and 2013 without a concomitant increase in the amount of funding to be provided by the EU. This resulted in a reduction in the overall Programme complement from €427m to approximately €314m on the basis of the Programme achieving full spend by the end of 2013.

However, given the levels of spending by the Local Development Companies (LDCs) from 2009 to date, it is very unlikely that full spend will be achieved by the end of 2013, at which time the co-funding rate will revert to 55% for all expenditure beyond that date. As a consequence of this the overall Programme requirement will change. In the context of these changes to the co-funding rate the original project allocations given to each LDC contracted to deliver the LEADER elements of the RDP require readjustment.

An exercise is currently being carried out to determine the level of project commitments across all LDCs and all RDP measures in order to rebalance the programme in as equitable a way as possible.  This exercise is close to completion and the Department will be in touch with the LDCs shortly.

Water Supply

Questions (184)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

184. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will take action to tackle the problem of treated water being lost to substandard pipes and connections in County Kerry, which loses the highest amount of treated water in the country, at one and a half times the national average, or 60% of all treated water in the county, according to the Service Indicators in Local Authorities Report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18083/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The primary objective of my Department’s National Water Conservation Programme is to reduce water loss and leakage in the distribution networks to an economic level and to address high levels of unaccounted for water. My Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 (WSIP) places a high priority on water conservation. Since 2005 the level of recoupment of approved costs by my Department to water services authorities (local authorities) in respect of water mains rehabilitation or mains replacement projects was increased from 75% to 90% which reflects this high priority. Nationally, over €247 million has been spent on water conservation projects in the last decade with €39.9 million spent in 2011 and €39.25 million in 2012.

In the case of Kerry, funding of €18.79 million is included in the Programme for Water Conservation Stage 3, Countywide Watermains Rehabilitation Project Phase 1. Stages 1 and 2 (installing leakage control infrastructure and implementing active leakage detection and reduction measures) have already been undertaken by Kerry County Council.

The Water Mains Rehabilitation Project is Stage 3 of the Water Conservation work to be carried out by Kerry County Council. The Council has completed its countywide watermains rehabilitation strategy required as part of its water conservation programme. This strategy identifies specific defective water supply networks requiring rehabilitation and/or replacement. The rehabilitation element involves the replacement of identified water mains as part of a coordinated approach to arrest high levels of water leakage.

My Department has already approved a number of proposals received from Kerry County Council for watermains rehabilitation works throughout the county to the value of €1.26 million. The Council is also identifying further works to be included in the Countywide Watermains Rehabilitation Project Phase 1 contract to be progressed and funded under the current Water Services Investment Programme.