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Councils face overtime bill as families rush to meet e100 tax deadline

DEADLINE day for the €100 Household Charge cost local authorities in Dublin more than €6,700.

It means the country's 34 city and county councils could be facing a total tab of between €35,000 and €60,000 for opening last Saturday.

Dublin City Council rostered six members of staff to work on March 31, starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm.

It cost the local authority a total of €1,600 in overtime.

During the day, some 230 members of the public visited the cash desk at the Civic Offices on Wood Quay to pay Environment Minister Phil Hogan's charge.

A spokeswoman said two cashiers were on duty, while others manned the cash office in the back and the reception area.

Any householder who did not pay the levy before midnight on Saturday will be hit with interest and penalties.

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council said it was open to the public from 10am to 4pm at the weekend, with four members of staff on duty.

Some 225 payments, to the value of €22,500, were made on the day.

Overtime costs amounted to €500, a spokeswoman told the Herald.

The Tallaght and Clondalkin offices of South Dublin County Council opened on Saturday from 9am to 3.30pm, receiving 339 registration forms during the period.



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Fifteen staff members were on duty between the two offices and the projected overtime cost is €3,000.

In addition to the staff in the cash office, customer care staff were also on duty providing advice to homeowners completing their registration forms.

"The collection of the charge is necessary to enable this council to continue to provide local services including fire and emergency, roads, water, housing, parks, libraries, street cleansing and our community development/arts programmes," a spokeswoman told the Herald.

Fingal estimated its overtime costs were around €1,600.

Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall has said "lessons need to be learned" from the experience of introducing the Household Charge.

Ms Shortall said the method of collection "was far from ideal as a system and far from ideal how it was handled".

She denied it was a "complete disaster", though she admitted it proved "problematic".

Some 830,000 people have registered to pay the charge, including waiver applicants.

The figure is an increase of 25,000 on Saturday's figure.

Some 628,460 people have paid online and 106,000 have paid by post.

There were 12,677 waiver applications and 82,175 had paid with their local authority.

More than 1.6m households are eligible to pay, though the no campaign claims the figure is closer to 1.8m.

Penalties for non-payment of the household charge are now applicable, with increases every month unless the €100 charge is paid.

comurphy@herald.ie


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