Saturday 20 January 2018

Cash-strapped Council's latest chapter of woe



COUNTY SLIGO may not get any new library books next year as the cash-strapped council struggles to balance its books.

Hubert Kearns, County Manager said: "It is difficult to find savings."

He then suggested a ban on buying new library books for 2013.

His comments came as the council discussed its dire financial situation.

Mr. Kearns added: "The Council is continuing its efforts to reduce its cost base at every opportunity.

"Pay is the main area of reduction and is down from €21.2 million in 2011 to 20 million this year."

Environment Minister Phil Hogan TD has agreed to sanction a €7.5 million loan.

In return, the Council must submit to "quarterly detailed financial review meetings" with the Department.

At these meetings the Council has to demonstrate progress has been made in resolving its financial issues. The first meeting will take place in January. Mr. Kearns said it was a welcome response and that the loan would tide the Council over "for a year or two."

Clr. Sean MacManus said: "It's not before time that the Council is to be quizzed on its stewardship. "The situation is a damming indictment of the Council's actions over a number of years."

Clr. Declan Bree said: "The Council is getting deeper and deeper in debt.

"Capital debt is now €73 million with the revenue deficit €13million and growing."

A motion was put forward by Fine Gael which proposed that €7.5 million be borrowed by way of a long term loan.

This was passed by twelve votes to 11. Fine Gael and Labour voted for with Sinn Fein, Independents and Fianna Fail against. Clr. Bree said a €7.5m loan and a €7.5m overdraft was a recipe for disaster.

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