Festivals take up half of expenditure
THE FESTIVAL Programme for Gorey in 2014, including the Golden Shears event in May, took up half of the total expenditure anticipated in the Draft Budget presented to Gorey Town Council last week.
Total expenditure was estimated at €160,000, up slightly on last year, and the allocation for Festival expenditure increased from €60,000 in 2013 to €80,000 in 2014.
The Council's expenditure exceeded its estimate for 2013 by almost €20,000, with the main overruns being the Market House Festival expenditure and repairs to the Christmas lights.
The sum of €10,000 has once again been allocated to the planting of roundabouts and hanging baskets, but this figure will be higher thanks to sponsorship of various roundabouts.
The figures also include allocations of €2,000 for an Arts Scholarship; €10,000 for repairs and the erection of the Christmas lights; €4,000 for Christmas lights electricity charges; a €10,000 contribution to voluntary groups, up from €8,500; €6,250 for half a year of members' expenses; €2,500 for the Tidy Towns work; €500 for a Garden Competition; €2,500 for a commemorative event to mark the end of the Town Council; and €2,500 for various receptions.
The anticipated income includes a €20,000 County Council Festival contribution; a €5,000 Festival contribution from the Arts Department; and a €5,000 Festival contribution from Gorey Vintners and businesses.
It was agreed to keep the rate at €4.63 for the remainder of the Town Council's term. Town Manager Eddie Taaffe pointed out that a huge portion of the Town Charge goes directly back to the town and is invested in the town.
Cllr. Malcolm Byrne said that Gorey business owners look forward to the day when the rates are equalised across the county, as Gorey's is the highest.
The meeting was told that full equalisation could take up to ten years, should the new Council members decide.
'I don't think there would be a problem with immediate equalisation if the businesses in Gorey got the same rate as New Ross,' said Cllr. Byrne.
He pointed out that Gorey businesses pay 37 per cent more than New Ross businesses, and in Courtown, they pay 32 per cent more.
'Gorey, by and large, is doing very well,' said Cllr. Michael D'Arcy Snr. 'We're getting a certain level of services, and they must be maintained, and we have to have room for expansion.'
'In other towns, they cut the rates, and they had to cut the services accordingly,' he added.
'All we are looking for is equalisation across the county,' said Cllr. Robert Ireton. '
Why should businesses in Gorey pay more than other towns? It's not fair.'
Cllr. D'Arcy, as Cathaoirleach of the Council thanked the Town Manager Eddie Taaffe and Town Clerk Amanda Byrne, and all the Council officials and staff for all their work and support.