Last week Waterford’s new city and county council published its long term strategic projects plan. A large capital spending programme on infrastructural and regeneration across the city and county that is seen as badly needed over the coming years. A staggering 25 million is deemed necessary to upgrade the county’s water and sewerage systems.
Unfortunately unlike previous years where the local authority received the funding from the government to cover these costs, a total of zero euro’s has been allocated to the council. The governments new body Irish Water has been tasked with paying for this project. ‘Central funds meant corporation taxes, capital gains taxes etc were all used to pay for these projects in the past. As we all know Irish Water’s sole means of raising this money is through bills in the letterbox drawing money out of Waterford peoples pay packets’ said Cllr Quinlan.
Confusion still surrounds how Irish Water will raise its money, whether as a charge equal across the board or if people in some county’s will have to pay more if their county’s are seen to be using more then the average. This policy is extremely popular amongst government backbenchers in the Dublin area as with a greater population in a smaller area, this system would reduce their bills while causing those in Waterford to soar.
‘Waterford needs these upgrades, Tramore and Butlerstown only recently had their systems crash. We had a much more equal basis of paying for them when the whole tax system was being used. Now these projects will have to be paid for from those paying PAYE, PRSI and even those unemployed while much of the taxes collected from high finance and top end earners remains immune’ said Cllr Quinlan.
It is hoped Irish Water and the government will agree to amend the way they will raise this money in the near future before large bills such as these fall due on the public.