THE capacity of the council to fund its own work is 'diminishing fairly significantly' according to the local authority's head of finance who pointed to the decline in development levies income as a major headache for the council.
The levies are important for funding capital spending projects in the council and as they have dived off a cliff, so has the local authority's spending on these important infrastructure projects. While the drop in capital spending seen at the council since the heights of 2007 and 2008 have been dramatic, even more stark has been the demise of the local authority's income from development levies. In 2007, Fingal County Council raked in some €64 million from development levies but by 2011 that had dropped out of sight to just €5 million, where it remained in 2012 and is projected to stay through 2013. The figures were given to councillors as the council's head of finance presented the local authority's threeyear capital spending programme for 2013 to 2015. Head of finance Des Bruton told councillors frankly:
'Our capacity to fund projects from our own internal resources is certainly diminishing fairly significantly.' He said that the council would have a ' fine balancing act' to pull off with regard to its capital spending over the next three years. Mr Bruton said: ' We will have difficulty funding or even co-funding capital projects from our significantly diminishing resources.' County manager David O'Connor, pictured left, agreed and said that in general terms, he was 'very concerned about the ability of local authorities to invest in the future'. He said there was 'double think' going on in the Department of the Environment which was looking to reduce development levies where development was taking place but not in areas where development shouldn't be encouraged. He said that such a strategy could leave the local authority collecting little or no income from development levies.