Hogan predicts €7m savings from council mergers
ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Hogan has predicted that his merger of councils in Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick will save up to €7m per year.
The city and county councils in each county are due to be merged in mid-2014 after the local elections.
Mr Hogan said that the “streamlining” of services and staff in these councils would save between €5m-€7m per year.
“We’re in the 21st century now. We don’t need as many structures as we had before,” he said.
But Independent Waterford TD John Halligan complained that Cork and Galway had been left with a city and a county council while Waterford’s two councils were being merged.
“No matter what way you dress this report up, it proposes a downgrading of Waterford city’s status,” he said.
But Mr Hogan said that Waterford city would retain its Mayor and its status.
“It’s not the intention of anybody to demote any particular place, particularly Waterford,” he said.
As part of his local Government reforms, Mr Hogan is also abolishing 80 town councils and reducing the number of councillors from 1,627 to a maximum of 950. But he said that the key to his reforms would be getting councils to raise their own funding – such as through the forthcoming property tax.
“We cannot have, any meaningful reform of local Government until we give people not just the powers but the responsibility to pay for those services as far as possible at local level,” he said.