The members of Bundoran Town Council have voted unanimously to leave parking rates in the town unchanged for 2012.
Althought the town’s Budget will not be set until later this month, Cllr. Elizabeth MacIntryre (FF) proposed at Tuesday’s monthly meeting that the rate be frozen for next year. This was despite a report from Town Engineer Liam Murray, which showed a shortfall of this year’s budget of €16,284.73 (11%). Total net income from parking charges was €133,715.27, compared to a budget provision of €150,000. The shortfall arose because of the introduction of 21% VAT on parking charges from July 1, which amounted to €11,461.80 for the year
Although the council approved the introduction of parking charges at Tullan Strand, at Station Road and West End to offset this, the income from this was below expectation.
Councillors agreed that they did not want to pass the cost of the VAT on to customers, either by increasing charges or by introducingn parking charges in new areas.
Cllr. Sean Carty (SF) said: “I think that would be detrimental. There’s no real shortfall, there’s money in the bank.”
Cllr. Elizabeth MacIntyre (FF) added: “I wouldn’t be in favour of any increase in parking charges at all. I propose they remain the same. And I would be against increasing the area covered by parking charges in Tullan Strand. It’s not free to facilitate surfing schools, it’s free to facilitate people walking on the strand.
Cllr. Florence Doherty (Ind) noted: “Parking revenue has been decreasing every year, from €199,000 in 2007 to €133,000 this year, so it’s not working.”
Cllr. Philip McGlynn (FF) also expressed concern. “It’s quite alarming that revenue from parking is down by 48% over the four years. That’s why I think we need to hold the charges and not to increase them.”
Cllr. Diarmaid Doherty (Ind) was optimistic. “I think the fall may have stablised now and hopefully will turn up next year.”
Council Chairman Mick McMahon (SF) said: “I’m not happy with parking charges but we have to be realistic,” he said.