Council finances on target half way through year
By Tríona Doherty
Athlone Town Council’s income and spending has been on target for the first six months of this year, it was revealed last week.
Aidan Bass of the council’s finance and planning section presented an update on the council’s finances to councillors, as had been requested by former mayor Cllr Alan Shaw.
While there has been a slight drop-off in the amount of commercial rates collected - €1.6m for the first six months of 2012 compared with €1.7m this time last year - on the whole Mr Bass is pleased that council income and expenditure remain on target.
“We are still taking payments by standing order on a monthly or quarterly basis,” he said.
However he added that factors including the tightening availability of credit, rising unemployment, and reduced incomes are making debt collection a difficult task for the council.
“In collecting commercial rates we are dealing with an increased number of liquidators, examiners, and receivers where businesses are having financial difficulties. Each case is dealt with individually and we are prepared to work with customers in difficulty and will arrange mutually acceptable payments plans wherever possible,” said Mr Bass.
Car parking charges have brought in over €202,000 so far this year, 47 per cent of the budgeted figure for 2012, while housing rents have brought in €539,434, some 48 per cent of the expected figure for the year. Receipts from planning fees of €45,710 are well ahead of the target of €30,000.
Expenditure is also generally in line with what is expected for this time of year. Of the total budget for the year of €11,559,602, expenditure up to June 30 was €4,845,899, some 42 per cent; however this is a normal trend, as a significant portion of the council’s works programme is seasonal.