Hogan's reform ends up increasing Council costs instead of cutting themOctober 18, 2012 - 7:00am
The number of elected members onto Galway County Council is set to increase by a massive 30% under the local government reforms announced this week – with the potential to cost the local authority an additional €350,000 annually on top of what they are currently paying their members.
The vast majority of sitting councillors are delighted with the changes, because it gives them something of a ‘safety net’ when it comes to the next local elections now that there are more seats up for grabs.
The big losers this week were the Town Councillors around the country, including those in Tuam, Loughrea and Ballinasloe – as forecast in this newspaper some months ago.
But if this was supposed to be either a cost cutting exercise or an attempt at local government reform, it seems to have lost its way somewhere along the line.
Because given that some County Councillors can earn as much as €40,000 when their annual payment and expenses are added up, the nine new members could potentially cost a cash-strapped Galway County Council a small fortune.
Of course there will be savings in due course from a planned redundancy programme as well as a promise to allow local authorities to set their own household levy rates – but the impact of that will be reduced by the increased cost of funding extra Councillors.
See full coverage in this week's Connacht Tribune.