Council's deficit jumps to €3.5m
AN AUDITOR'S Report into the finances of New Ross Town Council for 2012 highlighted a significant increase in the body's deficit figure on the previous year.
The meeting heard the deficit was €821,000 in 2012. Town Manager Eamonn Hore said the council has put aside €65,000 since 2012 to address the deficit. He said the accounts reflect the reduction in exchequer funding to local authorities and the difficulties being experienced by the retail sector which led to a significant reduction in rates.
Mr Hore said a drop in income from parking, unbudgeted expenditure for the Apex loan and pension lump sum payments all had an impact on the ability to stay within budget.
The report shows the council's long term creditor debt increased from €1,311,000 in 2011 to €3,422,000 in 2012. Mr Hore said this increase was mainly due to the fact the council borrowed an additional €2.1m in 2012 to fund the development of the Apex pool. The report shows a drop in income from rates and rents.
Cllr John Dwyer said local rent- and rate-payers should be complimented as a high percentage of tenants paid what was due.
'We have 86 per cent compliance from tenants; that is a remarkable achievement. There is a very diligent process if people fall behind in their rents. Is the same type of proactive attitude there in rates? There was a rates bill of over €20,000 outstanding for four years.'
Senior staff officer Mick McCormack said the council tries to work with businesses who are facing difficult times. 'We don't want to be closing down businesses. We have a number of methods of payment like standing orders but we don't take a less tough approach than we do with tenants. We threaten to evict rent payers and we will bring rate payers to court.'
Cllr Michael Sheehan expressed concern that the council will be in serious financial difficulty in years to come because of current undertakings. He asked if there were money outstanding which is due to be paid to the council.
Mr McCormack said €900,000 is due to be paid to the council, while there is also money due from the bondsman from the Bosheen bungalows works.
New Ross Standard