€700,000 less funding for Drogheda Borough Council
DROGHEDA Borough Council will have to operate with up to €700,000 less in its budget for the coming year.
However, County Manager Joan Martin has vowed that key services will be maintained and a number of projcts are earmarked to be undertaken in 2013, including the long awaited roundabout at Beechgrove.
' There are no major cutbacks, but rates continue to be very important for us,' she stated.
Over 48 per cent of the council's income comes from rates, but despite that, they have decided to cut the rate by one and a half per cent to try and help hard pressed retailers and firms.
There had been a suggestion at the meeting by Cllr Kevin Callan to not cut the rate and invest the approx €175,000 in town activities, including trying to secure the Fleadh Cheoil for the town in 2014. ' We all know the figures, Cavan made €40m from it and €175,000 would be a big boost to our campaign to get it,' he stated.
However, after receiving a submission from the Chamber of Commerce in the run up to the budget, and no indication that they agreed with such a move, Mayor Paul Bell and other councillors felt it would not be in the best interests not to cut the rates.
' There's been no dialogue with the traders about this,' he added.
The council budget will slide from €25.3m this year to €24.5m next year.
'Although we had up to €1m cut back in our budget this year it was a reasonably good 12 months with the opening of the Fr Kevin Connolly Lourdes Stadium and hosting the National Famine Commemoration highlights,' she stated.
The opening of Boice Court, one of the few national council housing schemes undertaken, was also noted, plus the retention of the Tidy Towns Gold Medal.
'Recent job announcements have been a boost and its shows the Economic Forum is working hard for Louth and Drogheda,' she added.
The Croke Park agreement had seen savings of €400,000 while 200 staff had left in recent years.
She did praise the chamber for their innovative idea on rates payments but legal constraints had impacted on it. 'But there is merit there and maybe something that can be brought forward at national level in the future,' she explained.