Bray should fight to regain its status as a town council, according to local councillors.
Cllr Joe Behan said he wanted to see Bray return to the status of town council and regain full control of its finances during the June meeting of Bray Municipal District.
Councillors were discussing the schedule of municipal districts works, which were narrowly adopted during the meeting.
Cllr Behan said Bray is the biggest town in the county, yet has to "go cap in hand to Wicklow County Council" despite the district raising a large proportion of the county’s property tax income.
Bray Urban District Council was dissolved in 2014 as part of Government reforms of local government.
"We should never lose sight of the fact that we once had control of our destiny and I'd like to see control returned to us. We must continue to fight." Cllr Behan said.
Cllr Erika Doyle, cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, said she would love to see the town council re-established as it was a "huge loss” to the area.
She said the Programme for Government included a commitment to return the status to some towns and Bray should push to be included in this list in the future.
During the discussion, District Manager Lorraine Gallagher gave an outline of Wicklow County Council’s budgetary process to councillors. She pointed out that there is a little “wriggle room” in the allocations and reminded councillors that if they decline to adopt the budget, it will be sent to Wicklow County Council to approve.
Cllr Rory O’Connor said councillors were being asked to “rubber stamp” what has already been agreed. He suggested more information should be provided about previous allocations to allow for transparent comparisons.
Cllr Dermot ‘Daisy' O'Brien proposed the district defer adopting the schedule of works for one month, to allow any questions councillors may have to be answered. This would also provide time to consider if there is any scope to make changes to the allocations.
He asked about the allocation of €20,000 to the homelessness outreach service, querying if this had resumed.
Seconding Cllr O’Brien’s motion, Cllr McManus said she would prefer to take the extra time if there is any scope to amend the allocations. She asked if funding for projects such as works at People's Park include allocations for preliminary public consultations.
Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy agreed that more information would be worthwhile, and would allow councillors to see any changes in the amounts allocated.
She acknowledged the limited role of elected members at this stage of the budgetary process, and proposed a motion that the schedule of works should be approved.
Cllr Anne Ferris said she would like to see the document presented in a more user friendly format that would give more details about how the allocations are spent. She seconded Cllr Flynn Kennedy's motion to adopt the schedule of works.
Cllr Doyle said the schedule of works document is a "wall of figures" and more information would be useful to help councillors understand it. She said this could be considered as part of the next budgetary process.
Ms Gallagher said she accepted councillors’ concerns about this stage of the budgetary process. If any amendment are made, a report would have to be submitted to Wicklow County Council to explain the rationale behind the decision.
She re-iterated that funding for the districts is allocated centrally, and any delay to the adoption of the schedule of works would not affect projects in the district.
A vote was then called. Councillors were asked to vote first on Cllr O’Brien's motion to defer the adoption of the schedule of works to July.
Cllr O’Brien, Cllr Behan, Cllr McManus and Cllr O'Connor voted in favour of the motion with Cllr Doyle, Cllr Flynn Kennedy, Cllr Ferris and Cllr Melanie Corrigan voting against the motion. As there was a tie, Cllr Doyle had the deciding vote as cathaoirleach and chose not to change her vote.
Councillors were asked to vote on Cllr Flynn Kennedy’s motion to adopt the schedule of works to July. Again the vote was a tie, with Cllr Doyle, Cllr Flynn Kennedy, Cllr Ferris and Cllr Corrigan voting in favour of the motion and Cllr O’Brien, Cllr Behan, Cllr McManus and Cllr O'Connor voting against.
Cllr Doyle was asked to cast the deciding vote and as she did not alter her original vote, the motion to adopt schedule of works was approved.