A budget meeting of Longford Municipal District last week heard there was no revenue from paid parking for next year’s budget, writes Aisling Kiernan.
The news came as local area representatives were arguing their case for more money than the other districts because of the level of revenue generated in and around Longford town.
It was Cllr Gerry Warnock (Ind) who conceded that while local area representatives had done themselves “no favours” by introducing the discretionary period of 30 minutes for parking, “it is revenue that is raised in our municipal district”.
“There is absolutely no way that any income raised in our area should go to other districts and that I do know,” he fumed.
Cllr John Browne (FG) then added, “People love the half hour discretionary period with the parking. In fact I think it is working very well in this town and shoppers are delighted with it.”
It was Cllr Mae Sexton (Ind) who then asked why they were raising the money in the first place, it the district was not in a position to spend it? “This is such nonsense, absolute nonsense,” she continued. “Why are we even bothering to raise all that money if we can’t even spend it, why?”
Cllr Warnock then interjected and read from the provisions of the Local Government Act. “It’s in the Local Government plan that the revenue from paid parking be spent in its municipal district and not in the county,” he said, adding, “that seems pretty clear cut to me.”
Co Manager, Tim Caffrey then clarified the matter. “Any incomes from the paid parking is reinforced for that municipal district,” he added. “Unfortunately, there are associated costs with the paid parking. It is unfortunate that €66,000 - as a result of the cut to the Local Property Tax (LPT) resulted, but that cut has to be found somewhere; it is going to have to come out of the council’s budget.”
Director of Finance at Longford Co Council, Barry Lynch then added, “There are associated costs with paid parking and fixed costs of €800,000 so there is no revenue from paid parking now.”
Mr Lynch then pointed to the meeting for the Budget proper which will take place in a couple of weeks time.
“Next month I will be briefing you all in full with the breakdown of the budget for 2015,” Mr Lynch continued. “I can tell you now that over 90% of that budget is fixed, so really it is the discretionary side of things that allows for some maneuvering. We have installed new parking meters and also have to pay Tesco every year for the paid parking; the contribution to the road programme from the paid parking is no longer available, so we will just have to wait until the briefing to discuss matters further.”