Watchdog reports mixed results for DCC

DONEGAL County Council takes an average of eight months to re-tenant their social houses after they become vacant.
That’s according to a new report by the independent watchdog of local government which examined the performance of Councils across the country in 2020.
The report by National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), found there were mixed results for Donegal in a range of areas including housing, the environment and financial management.
In 2020 it took the Council, on average, 35 weeks from the date a property was vacated to when it was retenanted. There are almost 2,700 people currently on Donegal County Council’s housing list.
The report found that re-letting cost the Council a total of €12,451 last year.
 Chair of NOAC Performance Indicator Working Group, Philomena Poole, said: “Public health restrictions and the increased challenges local authorities faced in providing essential services, along with the reduction in income, has impacted performance under various indicator headings. However, re-letting time and cost has again increased and although COVID-19 has impacted this area, NOAC notes that there has been a steady rise in re-letting costs since 2014, with only a small decrease shown in 2019 compared to the prior year.”
There were just 52 new dwellings added to the Council’s housing stock in 2020, 17 properties were sold and eight Council owned units were demolished. By the end of 2020 there were 4,871 dwellings in the Council’s ownership.
There were 6,973 registered tenancies at the end of June 2020 and the report found that just 13 per cent of these were inspected. Local authorities are required to inspect at least 15 per cent of their properties every year.
Donegal faired better in the environment section of the report.
The number of areas of the county classed as unpolluted or litter free rose from 29 per cent to 49 per cent which is an increase of 20 per cent – the second largest increase in the country.
There were 1,195 pollution complaints made in Donegal in 2020 and by the end of the year 1,123 cases were closed and 248 were on hand.
In the planning section the report reveals that there were 291 enforcement cases referred to the Council in 2020 and by the end of the year 1,022 cases were being investigated.
Donegal and Galway had the lowest percentage of commercial rates collected at just 61 per cent. This is a decrease for Donegal from last year, where it was also the lowest, at 76 per cent.
Ninety per cent of rents were collected in 2020, the same figure as the previous year.
The number of people going online to pay their motor tax rose from 58 per cent to 79 per cent in 2020. Donegal experienced the largest increase in the state of people choosing to complete these transactions online.

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