Clare County Council’s unaudited Annual Financial Statement for 2013 shows that the local authority ended the year with a €643k surplus on a total revenue expenditure of circa €104.4m.
Reporting to last evening’s final monthly meeting of the Council before the Local Elections next week, Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan noted that, “Over the term of this Council, the cumulative operating debit balance, which stood at €1.77m at the start of 2009 has been reduced to €1.08m at the end of 2013. This reduction in the cumulative deficit in a period of reduced funding and uncertain economic circumstances is a positive development to be welcomed.”
Clare County Council billed a total of €36.1m in commercial rates in 2013, which represents approximately 35% of Clare County Council’s revenue expenditure in the year. The council collected €35.8m in rates in the year and the total amount of rates outstanding at the end of 2013 is lower than the balance outstanding at the end of 2012.
“Customer balances are being actively pursued through engagement with customers in agreeing payment plans or through legal action, where necessary,” explained Mr. Coughlan, who added: “It is a difficult time for many businesses and the Council tries to balance this reality with the need to maximise its collections to deliver services as planned at budget time to the people of County Clare. The Council is committed to adopting a practical approach in terms of facilitating rate payers in their payment arrangements when possible. It has also implemented a facility for customers to pay their Rates liability online via www.clarecoco.ie.”
Other key points from the Annual Financial Statement for 2013:
– The Council had increased income over budget in the year; in particular from the Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge. Income from the Non Principal Private Residence charge (NPPR) was €2.2m for the year. The income was greater than budget by €0.7m mainly due to a significant amount of income from penalties for late payment.
– The accounts for 2013 include the final billing for water services delivered directly by Clare County Council. Irish Water has become responsible for the provision of water services in Ireland from 1st January 2014 following the passing of the Water Services (No 2) Act 2013 and it is expected that Irish Water will commence collection activity for outstanding non domestic water charges later this year.

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