Longford town rates drop by two percent

Following on from last year's decrease of one percent, Longford Town Councillors agreed this week to drop the annual rate on valuation by two percent for the current year, leaving it at €69.71.

Following on from last year's decrease of one percent, Longford Town Councillors agreed this week to drop the annual rate on valuation by two percent for the current year, leaving it at €69.71.

Prior to budget the council had estimated that there would be no change in the rate. However, similar to the the county council, the Town authority had more funding than expected and was therefore able to introduce the cut in rates.

Town Manager Jack Kilgallen, in his address said the county charge - from Longford County Council - had increased by ten percent to €1,277,892.

He announced that the allowance for bad debts for rates on the current year is €350,000, which is an increase of €240,000 on the previous year's figure.

Looking towards the positives out of the financial figures, Mr Kilgallen said the council has managed its funding exceptionally well. He noted that from December 2003, the council had a deficit of just over €800,000. In the current year, continuing the trend of the past three years, the council has a credit balance of just under €300,000.

"Our credit balance has actually increased by €20,000 in the last 12 months," said Mr Kilgallen. "It goes to show the progress that this council has made with good financial management and good, quality decisions."

Mark McNerney, Administrative Officer with Longford Town Council, went through the figures with the councillors and said they had estimated that the council would have a cut of 12.5 percent in the local government fund. However, the decrease in funding came in at 11.85 percent, which left the council with a surplus of €35,760.

Town Mayor Cllr Christy Warnock proposed a two-percent reduction in rates, seconded by Cllr Paul Connell.

In response, Mr McNerney said if the council put the surplus along with the €20,000 extra the council was getting from the County Council in NPPR receipts, it would come to €55,760. He said this could be used to provide a two percent cut, as well as having a small surplus of €705.

Cllr Connell proposed that this extra €705 should go towards Longford Tidy Towns.