Saturday 21 April 2018

Councils use motor tax funds on other services

Michael Brennan and Paddy Clancy

COUNCILS are diverting motor tax funds intended for badly-needed road repairs to pay for other services.

They are required to spend one-third of the motor tax funds can use the remaining two-thirds in any way they want.

But new figures show that many councils are only putting the legal minimum into their road repairs – and are using the remaining two-thirds for other purposes such as housing and water services.

The worst offenders include cash-strapped Sligo County Council, which has been seeking permission for a multi-million euro overdraft increase from the State.

It has put aside the mandatory one-third of motor tax funding for road repairs. But then it only added in a further €800,000 itself – just 9pc of the total road repair budget.

In contrast, Wicklow County Council contributed an additional 30pc in funding towards road repairs – which is considered a good indicator by the Department of Transport. Other county councils with good records in this area include Kerry, Louth and Galway.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said there were huge variations among councils.

"It's important county managers prioritise spending on roads, and that local authorities make a substantial contribution to the cost of maintaining local and regional roads," he said.

Irish Independent

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