Council needs to increase income

Stephen Fernane

A budget aimed at "core projects and targets" is how Chief Executive, Moira Murrell, described Kerry County Council's 2017 Budget which was passed by County Councillors at a special meeting last week.

The 2017 budget provides for incomes and expenditures totalling €126.73 million which will go towards funding a cross-section of services. The highest estimated expenditure is in Road Transport and Safety which has been allocated €31m. Second highest is Housing and Building which is estimated to cost €24m - which the council say will help maximise the provision of suitable accommodation and managing housing options.

Further funding allocations include: Environmental Services €17.57m; Water Services €14.47m; Development Management €10.9m; Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare €2.63m, while Recreation, Amenity and Miscellaneous costing a combined total of €25.86m.

"We have looked to areas which we haven't previously looked to before in balancing this budget," said Chief Executive, Moira Murrell.

"This budget is about core projects and it targets the areas we need developed. This budget is framed to reflect new economic structures and ring-fenced funding will help to give life to a number of projects," she added.

In terms of footing the bill for the budget, KCC estimate that Commercial Rates will bring in approximately €41.16m in costs, with State Sector Grants amounting to €28.52m. In addition, the controversial couplet of Local Property Tax and Irish Water Income is expected to fetch €13.78m and €11.99m respectively, while 'Other local Income' is expected to bring in €31.28m to council coffers.

Council management previously outlined a shortfall of €5.5m in budget requirements at its September meeting, but they said last week that this gap is now bridged 'without having a very significant impact' on 2017 forecasts. The budget report adds that reliance on income streams to balance budgets is 'unrealistic' a plan is needed to increase income in 2018-20.