Calls to reduce water charges, and development levies, were rebuffed at this month's Tipperary Co. Council meeting by Management.
Cllr John Hogan called on management to write to Irish Water (IW), pointing out that Tipperary customers are at a significant disadvantage to other users across the country. According to IW’s own rules, no customer should be treated less than any other, “but our customers are disadvantaged,” insisted Cllr Hogan, who also called for a review of development levies, as the steep cost of development means “people are staying away from Tipperary” rather than investing here. According to Cllr Hogan, Offaly’s water charges are “half” that of Tipperary’s.
Responding, Council Official Brian Beck said development levies “provide us with the money to get things done.” “Our current (planning) refusal rate is between 2 and 3%. We need to get people across the line, but it’s not possible to have a 100% approval rate. We will work with people and we are solution oriented.” Mr Beck stressed to Cllr Hogan that development levies are completely separate from water.
“Even our levies are €12,000,” said Cllr Hogan, while other counties pay “3 or €4,000”. “They simply won’t build in Tipperary. If it’s a choice between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford, they’ll build in Waterford.” Cllr Hogan said the Council must lodge an official complaint that “people in Tipperary are being discriminated against.”
By reducing levies, “we will not increase money taken in development charges,” responded Mr Beck. “Water services are completely different. All development charges levied here, are kept here in Tipperary. That cannot be said of water.”
County CEO Joe MacGrath warned Councillors: “every penny taken (in development levies) goes back into infrastructure in this County. Last month you approved some €2m in funding: 100% of that was by development levies. If you take that we cannot develop.”