Council faces €3m punishment over low response to household levyJuly 26, 2012 - 7:00am
GALWAY County Council is facing a ‘punishment fine’ of over €3.1 million – because of the county’s low level of compliance with the controversial household charge. And that would mean cuts to funding for basic requirements like grit for rural roads in the event of a big freeze, flood relief measures if there is an extended period of heavy rain and even routine maintenance of houses for elderly people.
The local authority has a level of compliance of 56%, meaning a cut of up to €3,119,341 would be made to its 2012 budget – and that could force several smaller projects already in the pipeline to be abandoned.
Discretionary funds to tidy up graveyards, grants to the elderly to repair draughty windows and even money to repair potholes on rural roads will not be available as part of the crippling cuts implemented by the Department of the Environment.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan issued a circular on suggested cuts to all local authorities on Thursday – the last Dail sitting prior to summer recess.
“Local authorities are reminded of the requirement to achieve a balanced budget, taking into account the reduced income, and should reforecast expenditure for the remainder of the year to achieve balance,” according to the Department’s circular.
The County Council will not even be in a position to draw down money from other Government departments to co-fund projects as they will not have the finance available themselves.
“Basic tasks like the cutting of hedges, filling potholes, providing grit for roads in the winter or even maintenance to local authority houses will not be done because of the cuts. This is the worst yet,” declared Mayor of County Galway, Cllr. Thomas Welby.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.