Tuesday 16 July 2019

'Substantial cuts' on way in Louth County Council budget

Hubert Murphy

Chief executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin and Drogheda councillors are set for a fiesty draft budget meeting in Barlow House on Wednesday evening.

That comes after the head of the council sent them a letter, stating that 'substantial cuts' had to be made and 'several hundred thousand euro' was needed to pay staff. She has also told them that the councillors discretionary budget - which saw them back community projects all over the area last year - will be cut to €20,000 in total, down from about €65,000.

And all this comes after the local councillors voted to reduce pay parking to €1.00 from €1.20, resulting in an annual reduction of between €200,000 and €300,000 from the council coffers. There has been a suggestion that the key free parking areas in Mell and on the Donore Road may now revert to pay parking.

Some councillors have been plotting how to raise finances to allow the council to operate for the next year. Some suggest that the budget won't be passed, meaning it could revert to the minister to decide. The Chief Executive had asked for an increase in the Property Tax in a bid to balance the books but councillors declined her request.

The council must restore staff salaries and wages as per the national pay agreement but they can expect no more than 80% of the cost to come from the department, meaning they'll need to find 'several hundred thousand euro' to meet the shortfall. The full draft budget must be ready by November 19.

Drogheda Independent