Projects and events that had been earmarked for funding by the elected members of the Ballina Municipal District from the general municipal allocation (GMA ) will have access to draw down those funds next week after an increase in parking charges in Ballina was adopted by the district earlier this week.
The agreed increases are to vary between five cent and ten cent per hour across a number of differently zoned areas in the town. The municipal district approved the increase in parking charges to make up the shortfall that existed to meet GMA allocation adopted by the councillors at Mayo County Council's budget meeting last year.
The increases were proposed by Fianna Fáil Cllr Annie May Reape and seconded by her party colleague Cllr Michael Loftus. However there was opposition to the decision from a number of other councillors. Cllr Gerry Ginty proposed not to adopt the increase in charges, while Cllr Seamus Weir tried to introduce alterations to the proposals - but neither councillor proposals received a seconder from other councillors.
Fine Gael representatives led by Cllr Jarlath Munnelly raised their own opposition to the increase without putting forward any counter proposals. Cllr Munnelly said his party had put forward their own proposals at the county councils budget meeting last year but these democratically defeated by the Fianna Fáil and independent alliance that control the local authority. He pointed out that five non Fine Gael members in the municipal district voted for it at the councils budget meeting.
Cllr Ginty responded saying that he was guilty of supporting the budget "without it being explained adequately to us" and for that he takes responsibility.
Cllr Reape told the meeting that the councillors had made commitments to groups to fund them under the GMA and they had to bring in the increases to stand by those commitments otherwise things were going to have to go back into the mixer again and end up with maybe €100,000 less to give out and tell groups that they would not be getting the funding they were promised.
Cllr Ginty also asked that his disapproval be recorded that the meeting to determine the increase in the on-street parking charges in Ballina was held in Castlebar rather than Ballina. He said that some people who might have liked to come along to see the meeting would not have been able to due to it taking place in the county town.