How our County Council rates
WICKLOW’S library membership remains high and the county has a great record for the letting of council housing stock, but the Garden County has the worst private water scheme quality in the whole of Ireland.
The Service Indicators report, recently presented to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, shows how Wicklow County Council rated against the country’s other local authorities in 2007.
Some of the statistics also provide interesting information regarding the behaviour of the people of Wicklow, from their reading to their recycling habits.
Service indicators across a large number of headings were introduced to the local authority system in 2004 to measure performance by the 34 local authorities, including City and County Councils, across a range of services in a uniform way.
‘While the indicators provide measurements across the breadth of local authorities’ activities, it is important to remember that not all services are easy to measure and that local authorities also provide a range of supports that are not measured by the selection of indicators,’ said a spokesman for the Local Government Management Services Board, who compiled the report.
THE attention paid to County Wicklow’s roads in 2007 compared well to some neighbouring counties but was far exceeded by plenty of others.
Last year 6.3 per cent of our roads were ‘dressed’ with surfacing last year, a total of 554,754 square metres.
Just 5.7 per cent of Waterford’s road surfaces were attended to in 2007, while the fig- ure stands at 6 per cent in Kilkenny, only 2.9 per cent in Sligo and a slim 3.6 per cent in Galway.
However, we can’t begin to pat ourselves on the back just yet. 10 per cent of Cavan and Leitrim roads were dressed and a whopping
10.8 per cent in Monaghan.
AS regards the status of local authority housing stock, Wicklow has one of the highest percentage of dwellings let, with only a meagre 1.9 per cent of dwellings empty.
Only South Dublin County Council, Carlow County Council and Limerick County Council can lay claim to a better percentage record.
Wicklow had an overall housing stock of 3,968 in 2007, 98.1 per cent of which were occupied.
Of the dwellings that are vacant, 9.6 per cent is because of major refurbishment schemes, while the remaining dwellings are unavailable for letting mainly because they were required near the end of 2007 and weren’t ready for occupancy by December 31 of that year.
WITH all the concern surrounding drinking water at the moment residents of Co. Wicklow will be glad to know the quality of our public drinking water last year was high.
However, those attached to private schemes will be horrified to know that Wicklow had the worst water quality in the whole country.
The report found that 96.90 per cent THE people of Wicklow aren’t exactly deprived when it comes to playgrounds, but nor are they spoilt for choice.
The County Council directly provided 0.11 children’s playgrounds per 1,000 people and while this might not seem like much, it’s still exceeds the rates in many other counties.
For instance Cavan and Clare County Council’s only provide 0.05 playgrounds per 1,000 people, Cork only 0.04, and Limerick County Council only 0.02.
Among our neighbours, Wexford provided 0.17 playgrounds per 1,000 people, Kildare 0.05 and Carlow 0.12.
Monaghan County Council was by far and away the best, directly providing 0.50 playgrounds per 1,000 people.
WITH a strong literary tradition, it should be no surprise that we have one of the highest rates of library memberships in the country.
Close to a quarter of Wicklow’s population (23.1 per cent) are registered members of libraries, which is only bettered by a handful of counties, including Dublin City Council (35.2 per cent) and Fingal County Council (35.4).
The lowest rates of membership were in Counties Louth (10.7 per cent), Laois (11.1 per cent) and Donegal (11.2 per cent). A highly respectable average of 3.58 books were issued per head of population in Wicklow last year, according to the report, with other items issued accounting for 0.25 per
cent. of drinking water analysis results from public schemes were in compliance with statutory requirements last year, one of the highest percentages in the country.
But it would seem Wicklow’s record has been let down by private schemes, as the figure plummets to 85.87 per cent.
That close to 15 per cent of water in private schemes failed to meet the statutory requirement for water quality doesn’t bode well and puts Wicklow firmly at the bottom of that table.
Second last on the list is Waterford at 87.25 per cent, Mayo at 88.98 per cent and Cork at 89.07 per cent.
WHEN it comes to Art, it seems Wicklow County Council could do batter.
The report shows that Wicklow County Council received 62 Arts Grants in 2007, a relatively average figure. For instance Wexford County Council received more at 110. The Garden County’s grants worked out at ¤802 per 1,000 people, compared to Wexford and ¤ 4,707, Galway City Council and ¤6,339 and Waterford City Council with ¤5,128.
IN Planning individual housing applicants faired well with just over 700 applicants having a decision made by Wicklow County Council whereas its neighbour Dun Laoghaire Rathdown made just 389 decisions.
Again the number of applications decided upon within eights weeks were higher in Wicklow with 301 applications decided upon.
When it came to housing developments the number of decisions made by Wicklow County council weren’t as high.
A figure of 161 housing developments were decided on by Wicklow County Council but just a short drive away in Dun laoghaire Rathdown some 203 decisions were made.
In Wicklow 93 of the decisions were made within eight weeks whereas in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 143 applications were decided on within that time.
The number of applications not requiring an Environmental Impact report was high yet the numbers were higher in neighbouring county councils.
Some 1,449 applications that were decided on did not require an Environmental impact assessment with only 15 applicants needing one.
In Dun laoghaire Rathdown and Wexford the figures not requiring an assessment were over 2,000 with 2,188 in Dun laoghaire not needing an assessment and in Wexford the figure was 2,019.
LANDLORDS in Wicklow were doing very well last year as they collected the highest percentage of revenue from rent.
In Wicklow 97.1 per cent of the amount due at the year end was collected with just 89 per cent being collected in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.
Housing Rent arrears were also high in Wicklow with 69.8 per cent of arrears being more than 12 weeks old.
In Wexford arrears were less at 60.5 per cent.
Housing Loans collected at the year end were also high in Wicklow with 93 per cent but not as high in Wexford with 103 per cent of housing loans being collected.
Housing Loan arrears were also high in Wicklow with 85 per cent of loans in arrears being more than three months old.
The total of 389 cases subject to complaints were investigated by Wicklow County council, the same number that was investigated by Wexford County Council.
In Wicklow there was a slightly higher number of enforcement procedures taken through warning letters in Wicklow at 590 with Wexford taking 472 procedures.
There was more than 50 per cent less prosecutions were made by Wicklow County Council than that of Wexford with 29 prosecutions being carried out in Wicklow and 66 be taken in Wexford.
The percentage of household wasted collected and sent for recycling in Wicklow is only 14 percent, just slightly ahead of Carlow, which is the worst in the country at 8.3 per cent.
This places Wicklow as one of the local authorities right at the bottom of the table when it came to recycling in 2007.
Wicklow County Council constituents have segregated waste collection through private operators. Top of the recycling table in Ireland are Longford County Council, who recycle 56 per cent of the household waste, while Waterford City (49 per cent) and County (47 per cent) Councils also have impressive track records.
In Wicklow, however, 86 per cent of household waste goes to a landfill - with a massive 26,198 tones of waste having disposed of in this way last year. Only 4,262 tones were recycled.
While most counties recycle between 20 and 30 per cent of household waste, the recycling facilities in Wicklow appear to be among the least plentiful in the country according to the report.
It took an average of 6.1 minutes to mobilise fire brigades in parttime stations in Wicklow last year, the report has revealed. This was one of the slowest times nationwide, with Offaly coming in at the bottom of the table at 7.6 minutes.
Offaly was the only county where the mobilisation time was more than seven minutes. Wicklow was one of five other counties where it took between six and seven minutes for the part-time crew to get together: Wexford (6.4), Westmeath (6.3), South Tipperary (6.2), and Dublin (6.1).
The fastest part-time fire brigade mobilisation times were in Sligo (4.2) and Waterford (4.3). The average mobilisation time across the stations was 5.2 minutes.
Wicklow County Council’s fire brigades reached almost half of all scenes (42.4 per cent) within ten minutes. They reached approximately the same amount between ten and 20 minutes (46 per cent). In 11.6 per cent of cases it took more than 20 minutes for a crew to reach the scene.
In this year’s report a number of local authorities highlighted significant issues related to attendance times, including the rural nature of parts of the county and therefore increased transport times, as well as an increase in traffic volumes in urban areas.
RIGHT: Only 1.9% of housing is vacant.
ABOVE: Kids not deprived of playgrounds, but not spoilt for choice either. TOP: County Wicklow roads compare well with neighbours.