Council to vote on city budget on Monday

City councillors meet on Monday to decide whether to adopt or reject the Draft City Budget, which outlines the Galway City Council’s spending plans for 2011.

In his summary of the Galway City Council budget, city manager Joe O’Neill said the budget provides for an overall expenditure of €85,964,061.

He also said there will be no increase in the commercial rate for businesses; no recommendation to increase the water charge for non-domestic users from its current level of €1.75; and there will be no increase in the parking charges.

However there will be a hike in the waste management charge with the fixed rate due to increase to €167.98 a year.

Mr O’Neill sought to defend the charge by saying that for the average household, “The increase will amount to €1 per month. There is no increase in the variable charge for the green and brown bin”.

Of the €85,964,061 budget the council has, 21 per cent will be spent on housing and building; 16 per cent on environmental services; 14 per cent on road transport and safety; 14 per cent on recreation and amenity; 13 per cent on water services; nine percent on miscellaneous services; eight per cent on agriculture, education, health, and welfare; and five per cent

on development management.

Mr O’Neill said the “expenditure levels have been set at the lowest possible level” to ensure the “continued safe delivery of essential services of the required standard”.

Mr O’Neill also said that over the past 18 months, the council has been “curtailing spending and generating cost saving in light of a decline in the major sources of income”.

He also said that the “the local financial and economic indicators for Galway City for the forthcoming year remain very challenging”.

As a result the focus of budget 2011 is “on prioritising our essential services, while ensuring that the income streams are sufficient to safeguard the ongoing viability of those services”.

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