Councillor asks why Galway City isn’t collecting vacant site levy

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Calls have been made for the city council to show transparency on why it is not collecting money owed under the vacant site levy.

A report by the Oireachtas’ Parliamentary Budget Office released recently found that just four local authorities collected monies under the vacant site levy last year.

Neither the city nor county councils in Galway collected any money in 2019 according to the PBO report.

City Councillor Alan Cheevers says that this money is needed now “more than ever” when every penny is needed to help find our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the 2015 Urban Regeneration and Housing Act, local authorities are required to maintain a register of residential or regeneration land in its area which has been vacant for more than 12 months.

Since 2019, such sites have been subject to an annual levy of 7% of the land’s value, increased from 3% originally.

Galway County Council does not currently have any sites listed on its ‘register’, one of eight local authorities with no active register last year.

Galway City Council lists six sites on its register, one of which is under appeal. The other five have a combined valuation of €4.2 million.

The largest of these is a €1.6 million valuation for the former Dawn Dairies site on the Dublin Road.

Councillor Cheevers says that he is asking the city council to issue a full report on