Councillors outraged as
budget slashed

Longford County Council head offices. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
The decision by councillors to cut the local property tax has led to the slashing of the discretionary funding for the municipal districts in Longford.

The decision by councillors to cut the local property tax has led to the slashing of the discretionary funding for the municipal districts in Longford.

It emerged at last week’s budget meetings that the discretionary budgets for the municipal districts had been dramatically cut to just €35,000 per district. Outraged councillors voted to reject the budget allocations and in Longford Cllr Peggy Nolan demanded a breakdown of the funding that is available.

The issue became so heated at the Ballymahon Municipal District meeting that Cathaoirleach Mark Casey (Ind) walked out.

“Who made this decision to take the money from the discretionary budget?” he asked.

Finance Director, Barry Lynch told the meeting that because of the 3% decrease in the Local Property Tax (LPT) next year, there was a shortfall of €66,000 in the council purse, “and that shortfall has to be taken from somewhere”.

“Regardless of the cut, this amount of money is not significant to run an area and if this is the way things are going to be done, what is the point?,” fumed Cllr Casey.

“We will not be able to represent the people of our area with this - we would want at least €100,000 per area to function.”

After asking a number of times who had made the decision to take the money from the discretionary budget and failing to get an answer, Cllr Casey stormed out of the meeting.

For more on this story, see this week’s Longford Leader.