Donegal County Council passes 2017 budget with increased spending of €2.2m

The meeting saw three adjournments in the afternoon as discussions went on between the different groupings

By Declan Magee

Reporter:

By Declan Magee

Email:

declan.magee@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal County Council passes 2017 budget with increased spending of €2.2m

Donegal County Council has adopted the proposed council budget for 2017 at its annual budget meeting in Lifford this afternoon.

The estimated revenue budget of just over €135m for next year, an increase of €2.23m on this year’s spending, was presented to councillors yesterday by council chief executive Seamus Neely and the various directors of services.

The budget was passed after an additional allocation of €50,000 for tidy towns funding to divided among the five municipal districts was added.

Parties met after lunch to discuss the budget and negotiations began between the whips of the different parties and the council executive.

The meeting saw three adjournments in the afternoon as discussions went on between the different groupings.

While largely supportive of the budget, councillors outlined their anger at the lack of central government funding for the county, particularly in the areas of roads and housing.

Cllr. Brogan said there were concerns about the lack of funding to the county from central government but said the council has demonstrated that when it is resourced it delivers on projects.

He called for a meeting with the minister for transport to discuss progress on the key infrastructure projects in the county.

Cllr. Brogan also said the council needed to renegotiate its bank debt and carry out an assessment of its assets.

He proposed the budget with the amendment that an allocation of €5,000 for each municipal district for tidy towns funding to be increased to €15,000.

Sinn Féin also supported the budget with the amendment on tidy towns funding. Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said Brexit was the most potentially hazardous development in recent years and could unravel the hard work done in the region and derail the peace process.

He also called for progress on the major road projects in the county and the A5 between Derry and Dublin.

He also called on the government to review the decision to abolish town councils, which he said has had a detrimental affect on towns like Letterkenny and Buncrana.

Cllr Barry O’Neill of Fine Gael called for more assistance for commercial rates payers, especially small businesses.

There also needed to be a review of street cleaning, car parking charges and funding for footpaths and street cleaning, he said.

Independent councillor Michael McBride also highlighted the infrastructure deficit in the county and called for the Bonagee link to fast tracked traffic as congestion in the town has become a crisis.

Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig (Ind) declined to support the budget in protest against the level of central govt funding and the property tax.

The budget was passed after the adjustment of €50,000 for the tidy towns funding was made.