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Residents of The Mills ghost estate in Lismore, who have been waiting months to get works done in the unfinished estate, are fuming after receiving notification recently that they are liable for property tax.
The estate was deemed exempt from the household charge previously and residents assumed it’d be the same with the property tax, given the large number of outstanding issues they have and the long delays in getting the work done.
Ray Murphy, chairman of the residents’ association said this week that residents were shocked and angry to receive flyers from Waterford County Council which were delivered to their homes late at night last week. The flyers contained a map advising which houses were liable for property tax. Only those unfinished and not habitable and the house which was destroyed by fire have been deemed ineligible.
“Funding was allocated and they were ready to go last January. We don’t know what the holdup is,” Ray Murphy said of the original developer, who has been given the tender to complete the works. Waterford County Council is overseeing the work which is being funded by NAMA.
A lack of public lighting, roads not finished properly leaving manhole covers protruding, footpaths crumbling in places and debris from the damaged houses are among the unresolved issues.
Ray says residents are concerned now that young people from adjoining areas are using the fire-damaged house as a gathering point. Their fear is that someone will be injured.
The delay in starting the completion works was raised at the monthly meeting of Lismore Town Council on Monday night. Cllr Jan Rotte asked if it was possible for those parts of the estate with no public lighting to get a waiver against paying the property tax. He also asked for an up-to-date report on the works and when they might be started. The meeting was told that NAMA has yet to release the funds to do the work. Bad weather was also a factor in getting them started.
“They were to start last September and then last Monday, but there’s no sign of them,” Mayor Julie Landers commented.
Town manager, Paul Daly said he would try to get them an up-to-date position for the next meeting. In the meantime, he said, people in the unfinished estate can appeal the decision of having to pay property tax to the Revenue Commissioners and they will review it.
Meanwhile, also on Monday, the residents association held an emergency meeting at which it was decided to contact Waterford County Council and the contractor regarding the delay. An e-mail was subsequently sent to both parties asking what was causing it. The manner in which they were notified of their liability for property tax was also mentioned. Health and safety concerns on the estate remain, the residents association advised and they are seeking legal advice on the matter as, Ray Murphy said “it’s only a question of time before a child is seriously injured or, as has already happened, a house is burned down.”
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