100% WAIVER FOR
OUR SENIOR CITIZENS"
"When Fianna Fáil were in power on the Council we ensured that the elderly and those receiving certain social welfare benefits were excempt from these charges. Despite expressing "concern" prior to the local elections both Fine Gael and Labour gave the public the impression that they didn't support these charges yet only 6 months after gaining power on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and they supported the increase of these same charges by approximately 77% plus scrapping the complete waiver for those most vulnerable in our society. Cllr. Devlin and his Party colleagues have continued to try and have this reinstated:
The following motion was moved by Councillor Cormac Devlin:
That this County Council implement a complete waiver for the Waste Charges for senior citizens and for those on Social Welfare as was done up to 2004.
The following report of the Manager, copy of which had been circulated to Members, was noted
The making of a charge for the provision of waste services and the power of waiver of any such charge are executive functions in accordance with Section 75 of the Waste Management Act 1996 to 2003 and are not reserved functions of the Council.
In accordance with Section 75 (9) of the Waste Management Act 1996 to 2003, Councillors do not have any authority or power to change or vary the waste charges and waiver scheme put in place by the Manager in December 2005.
The Manager determined the Environmental Waste Charges and Waiver Scheme by Manager’s Order dated 16 December 2005. Under the waiver scheme, households will qualify if the sole household income is any one of the following: Contributory or non-contributory old age or widow’s pension, invalidity pension, unemployment assistance, blind persons pension or any similar form of social welfare assistance or income.
In accordance with the Waiver Scheme, charges will be waived on the following basis:-
100% waiver of €80 standing charge will be granted where the income of applicant’s household does not exceed the income limits.
An additional waiver of €120 will apply where a household in receipt of an €80 waiver (total waiver for the year €200) comprises solely of:
a couple and 4 or more dependent children or
a single parent and 3 or more dependent children.
Accordingly, provision has been made for the current waiver scheme in the Council’s budget for 2006 and there is no provision for any extension of the scheme.
The Council has continued to operate a waiver scheme in 2005 and in 2006. Under the fixed charge, householders had to pay the full charge no matter how little use was made of the service. A 100% waiver was considered reasonable, as the householder had no influence on the level of charge. Now the householder has no influence over standing charge (€80) so it is considered reasonable to waive this. However, householders can influence the charge for the other two elements and it is, therefore, considered reasonable that they should pay for these. The householders who are liable for the charge pay for the waiver and we have a duty to be fair to both.
Many elderly householders, with small second pensions, did not qualify for waivers in the past. In 2004 they would have paid €300. With Pay By Weight, and assuming low usage, they can expect a significant reduction in the charge that they will pay.
In the past representations by public representatives on behalf of elderly people always claimed that they had a minimum amount of refuse. On this basis and assuming that an OAP qualifies for a waiver of €80 and leaves their bin out once a month an OAP’s charge could be as low as €10 per month.
As mentioned above all households can control two elements of the new charge. The Council encourages householders to minimize their waste and to recycle as much as possible and actively assists in this regard by providing a wide range of recycling options, including the Oxigen dry recyclable collection.
The new charge gives all households who have had to pay the charge in the past the opportunity to reduce their charge. It is accepted that households who in the past qualified for a full waiver will now have to make some payment. However, they like other households have the opportunity to control this charge. The additional allowance of €120 should meet the concerns of larger families.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has always had a waiver scheme – for both water and refuse charges. The new waiver scheme is considered to be reasonable and fair to all householders. In many other counties low income families cannot avail of a waiver, particularly where the service has been privatised.