Longford Town Council count the cost of months without traffic wardens

The government decision to allow the traffic wardens to be let go for an extended period last year had led to a significant drop in income for Longford Town Council.

The government decision to allow the traffic wardens to be let go for an extended period last year had led to a significant drop in income for Longford Town Council.

Outlining the council’s Annual Financial Report, Mark McNerney told councillors that they now have to carry out the same type of financial report every quarter and submit to the Department “as part of this new EU-IMF proposal procedures”.

During his report, Mr McNerney detailed the monies collected for parking charges and fines by the Town Council.

He said the council took in €824,402 for on street parking. Off street parking, which was subject to VAT for six months of last year, was €293,914.

The amount paid in fines was €173,440, which Mr McNerney said was down substantially from 2009 “because traffic wardens weren’t employed for a number of months”.

Cllr Mitchell asked about the loan repayments on car parks that the Town Council have provided, to which the Town Council Finance officer said “approximately €106,000”.

“It’s a real cash cow isn’t it?” said Cllr Mitchell.

“It’s an important source of revenue for us,” Mr McNerney replied.

Mr McNerney said there was an overall surplus on day-to-day expenditure of €18,804. He noted, however, that the previous year’s surplus was €204,740.

“Any surplus that arises in our budget is ploughed back into the budget for the following year,” he said.

A total of 72 percent of rates were collected over the year – amounting to €2,312,838 – leaving a shortfall (arrears) of €914,715.

Mr McNerney said they have made a significant effort in dealing with tenants, and trying to stop them falling into arrears. This is reflected in the council’s 88 percent collection of rents – amounting to €1,103,129.

The planning fees, he said, reflect economic climate with 90 percent reduction recorded in the past 12 months. In 2009 a total of €61,061 was collected in planning fees, compared with €6,328 in 2010.