Council faces financial crisis

The offices of Longford County Council. Photo: Michelle Ghee.

The offices of Longford County Council. Photo: Michelle Ghee.

Longford County Council won’t have enough money to pay its staff unless more money is made available from central government level.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Mark Casey said the anticipated €2m finance chiefs expected to recoup from this year’s property tax was simply not enough for it to continue.

In a bid to broker a resolution, the Independent councillor has personally written to a dozen other local authorities about the crisis.

And in a thinly veiled swipe at new Environment Minister Alan Kelly, Cllr Casey warned time for small-sized counties like Longford, was starting to run out. “It takes €8m a year to run the council and the property tax is supposed to bring in €2m. The numbers just don’t stack up.

“The council won’t be able to function because there won’t be enough money to pay its staff let alone anything else. We could all be out of a job,” he warned.

Cllr Casey’s gloomy prognosis are just the latest in a long line of cautionary threats which have been made in relation to Longford Co Council’s long term future.

In July, CEO Tim Caffrey said the local authority’s financial prospects looked bleak unless there was a fairer distribution of revenues generated from property tax receipts.

The fact up to €500,000 of the projected €2m Longford County Council hopes to collect from the property tax will go into a centralised pot has prompted angry responses locally.

Mr Caffrey said the 80:20 arrangement of LPT returns meant smaller councils like Longford were likely to suffer as a result.

Some councillors, headed by Fine Gael’s Micheal Carrigy have called for reductions of up to 15 per cent in the Local Property Tax.

However, it’s anticipated only nine councils, including Dublin, will be able to cut the rate because they will have a surplus of funding next year.

It’s a situation which caused Cllr Casey to hit out this week.

“This talk of cuts of up to 15 per cent is political opportunism,” said Cllr Casey.

“There should be a 100 per cent cut because it’s a charge that should never have been brought in in the first place.”




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