Letterkenny TC passes 3.5% cut
Letterkenny Town Council has unanimously passed a 3.5 per cent cut in commercial rates in a budget which Donegal County Manager Seamus Neely said will ensure that frontline services are maintained.
The council has to manage its services on a budget reduced by more than 350,000 euro from last year to 7.5million euro. Town councillors passed the budget at last weeks' budget meeting after a meeting in October passed a motion calling for a commercial rates decrease of at least 3 per cent.
The county manager said the budget had been prepared at a time of uncertainty and in the most challenging economic and financial climate in recent memory.
The budget is framed in this context, ensuring that front line services are maintained and fiscal prudence is exercised to ensure that expenditure is controlled and that income projections are realised.
Mr Neely said the struggle of the business, retail and service sectors means it is essential that budgetary decisions take cognisance of costs such as commercial rates and therefore the budget was tailored to reduce rates to the maximum extent possible.
He said the major factors that have influenced the preparation of the budget included a reduction of the local government fund by 130,000 euro to 966,000 euro, a 33 per cent drop in planning fees. These decreases in funding had been off set by 440,000 euro coming from the Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) levy, or second home tax.
The town councils income for text year will see 55 per cent coming from commercial property rates, a total of 4.2 million euro.
The NPPR will account for 6 per cent as will government grants. The 1.03 million euro from housing rents will make up per cent of funding and the 445,550 euro from goods and services will make up 7 per cent of funding.
Next year the council will spend the largest proportion of its 7.5m expenditure on payroll a total of 1.9 million euro. Pensions will account for 103,000 euro, the payment to the county council will be 2.2m euro, financial charges will make up 904,500 euro and agency charges will be 730,440 euro. Materials, plant and contracts will cost 627,750 euro, administration and establishment will be less than 640,000 euro, and grant payments will be under 355,000 euro.
A total of 85,600 euro has been set aside for the nine town councillors and this includes a provision of 25,750 euro for the representational payment to members, a mayors allowance of 12,000 euro and a deputy mayors allowance of 5,000 euro. The sum set aside for members expenses has been reduced to 10,000 euro.
Payroll and pensions will account for 27 per cent of expenditure, the payment to the county council will represent 29 per cent while financial charges will make up 12 per cent. Agency charges will make up 10 per cent, materials, plant and contracts 8 per cent, administration and establishment 8 per cent, grant payments 5 per cent and members expenses will be 1 per cent of total expenditure.
Of the town council's different divisions: housing will receive 502,843 euro; road transport and safety: 1.438,155 euro; water services: 178,308 euro; development management: 390,717 euro; environmental services 322,986 euro; recreation and amenities 2million euro; miscellaneous: 514,306 euro.