Longford County Council have set their sights on spending upwards of €46m on improving local infrastructure and services over the next three years.
Local authority executives have compiled a “very ambitious” capital expenditure programme designed to reflect a much changed and steadily improving wider economy.
The finer points of the plan were relayed to local politicians at a meeting of Longford County Council last week.
Head of Finance John McKeon conceded the strategy, while idealistic in nature was very much reliant on a string of other factors, most notably State aid.
“There is a health warning with this,” he told local representatives last Wednesday.
“Capital plans are always aspirational in nature and dependant on grant funding we get and the loan funding that is available and any development levies that we would collect.”
More than 70 per cent, or €33m of the €46m earmarked for expenditure between now and 2020 has been set aside for housing and building projects.
In response to questioning from Cllr John Browne, Director of Services John Brannigan said the Council were looking to build close to 350 units before the end of 2020.
“Sixty-seven per cent of those (houses) are to be new build,” he said.
“We (Council) need to be getting €11m a year of grant aid to be able to deliver the number of houses through direct purchase, regenerating some of our houses and the building of new stock. “New builds take a four stage process to get approval and that can be relatively slow from our perspective but we are talking about developing 339 units over the three years.”
The scope and large-scale investment outlined in the plan were virtues which came in for noteworthy acknowledgement from several elected members.
“I think it’s very realistic what we are putting forward even though it’s very ambitious,” said a plainly enthused Cllr Gerry Warnock.
“I think the quality of applications that have been forwarded to various departments by this local authority in the last number of years I think we are very right to be ambitious.”
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