Longford County Council CEO, Tim Caffrey told last week’s Budget 2015 meeting of the local authority that Longford was now a town to do business in and the future for the county was bright.
“What has been achieved in this county over the years has been great,” he pointed out, adding, “we had a deficit and now by the end of this year that deficit will be cleared”.
“The future is bright for this county; from now on we have a new era and five years from now this will be a very different county.
“This is a time for positivity.”
The key announcements included the harmonisation of the town and county commercial rates to last year’s maintained county rate of €65.35, signalling a reduction of 3% in rates to businesses in Longford town; No reduction in frontline services, which are to be maintained at 2014 levels; a 3% reduction in the Local Property Tax; an allocation of €60,000 to be made available to the Attic Youth Café, €30,000 of which was provided by the former Longford Town Council, with matched funding from Longford Co Council; and an allocation of approximately €60,000 to be made to each municipal district to be spent at their discretion.
This money will be essential for the promotion of local groups such as Tidy Towns, and festival and tourism committees.
Speaking after the announcement, Cllr Gerry Warnock (Ind) said the budget was “positive”.
“This is a positive budget in the first year of the new council, under strained financial conditions,” he added.
“I believe it creates a sound platform going forward over the term of this council. Together with other projects to address other business and social issues, we have taken on board opinions made by Longfordians and I believe that Longford is pointed in right direction to achieve social and economic recovery over the next few years.
“This measure is crucial in allowing the council to apply a countywide reduction in subsequent years, should economic conditions allow.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) alluded to the potential for the county as a direct result of Budget 2015 provisions.
“I think the way this budget is shaping is going to make Longford one of the best small counties in Ireland,” he said proudly. “Very few counties in Ireland are bringing down their rates like we are doing so I believe that 2015 will be a year in which Longford will be a place to do business - be it national or international.”
Fine Gael’s Cllr Peggy Nolan then added, “I welcome the funding for Attic Youth Café. This was a project that was endorsed by the Taoiseach himself and indeed other TDs, and it is essential to Longford and its young people. It is very, very important that Attic is supported all the way.”