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Massive cutback warning in Dublin's tough budget

DUBLIN City Council is expected to pass the most difficult budget in its history next week.

Details of cutbacks across every department in the country's largest local authority will be unveiled at the budget meeting on Monday.

An increase in bin charges and the scaling down of maintenance services across the city are just two features of this year's budget.

However, it's not all bad news. Despite the cutbacks, the council has endeavoured to provide funding to three public swimming pools -- in Crumlin, Coolock and Sean McDermott Street -- under threat of closure.

According to the council's draft budget, the city's controversial bin charges will be raised from a €96 annual charge for the big bins to €100 per year and a €2 increase is to be added on the charge for the smaller black bin to €84 per year.

There is no proposed change to the lift charge or the existing waiver scheme.

Other cutbacks stretch across every department. If the city budget is adopted by councillors this Monday it also means that the cash-strapped council will continue to scale back maintenance services such as cutting grass and painting road signs.

However, the council has endeavoured to provide funding to save three public swimming pools under threat of closure after a year-long fight to save the facilities in Coolock, Crumlin and Sean McDermott Street.

The increases in bin charges are expected to be a central issue when the council meets to debate the budget on Monday.

Independent Councillor Damian O'Farrell said: "I am concerned that the standing charge has been targeted instead of the lift charge.

"It's all too easy to choose the easy target, the standing charge, and penalise families who are operating green households. The polluter is not paying and this goes against Dublin City Council's commitment that the polluter will pay."

City management signed a ministerial order following an EU directive whereby councils are obligated to charge for waste collection services. Dublin City Council is estimated to spend over €31m on waste collection services in 2010, but will only earn over €20m from charges.

Joan Collins told the Herald: "I was elected as an anti-bin tax campaigner so I will be opposing this budget. This has always been an economic tax, not an environmental tax."

hnews@herald.ie


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