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Louth County Council coffers hit as €1 million income lost in 2020

County Hall
County Hall, St Alphonsus Road, Dundalk. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

Louth County Council has lost just under €1 million in income so far this year, as the effect of Covid-19 on the local authorities has been laid bare.

It has been revealed that the council have also taken in €8 million less in commercial rates in the year to the end of August 2020, compared to the same period last year.

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The council have lost €708,000 in pay parking income between March and August this year, with the lockdown period massively impacting on vehicles and footfall parking in town centres and at amenities around the county.

Income at the council-run sports facilities – such as Lourdes Stadium and the Dundalk Sports Centre – is down €133,000 in that time, while net planning income is down €50,000.

Road Opening Licence income is down €30,000 while money brought in from Building Control is down €22,000 and litter fines is down €10,000 from budget projections.

The local authority have also incurred additional costs related directly to Covid-19. To the end of August, Louth County Council have spent €759,000 on such costs – with that figure expected to rise to approximately €1 million by the end of the year.

That figure may be conservative, given Louth stands on the verge of entering Level 3 of lockdown, joining Dublin and potentially a handful of over counties in going into a partial lockdown in the coming weeks as Covid-19 cases rise within Louth.

The €759,000 figure includes unfunded road crew costs €275,000 during lockdown, unfunded Covid-19-related staff redeployments at a cost of €8,000 and additional Covid-19 related costs of €476,000.

The local authority say there are also smaller costs across all sections of the organisation and further costs will be incurred before the end of 2020.

It is understood that the reduction in rates against the 20202 budget it closer to €10 million.

In July, the commercial rates ‘holiday’ to assist businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, was extended until the end of September by Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Darragh O’Brien.

A fund of €600 million was announced to offset any losses incurred by local authorities from loss of rates. However, the council have confirmed they are yet to receive this funding.

Louth County Council say that no funding for the aforementioned loss of income or additional expenditure has been received from Government as yet, but discussions are ongoing at present.

The council’s financial situation was laid bare after a question posed by Sinn Féin councillor Pearse McGeough, who asked that Chief Executive Joan Martin outlined the financial position of the council in relation to the Covid-19 crisis.

“We hope to get it next week,” Joan Martin said, speaking of the commercial rates waiver. “There has no suggestion from government that any money will be recouped by local government. We are facing into a very uncertain period.”

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