The elected members of Mayo County Council will meet on Monday, November 23, at 11am, to try and adopt a budget for the coming year - if they fail to do so on that day they have scheduled in a second day on Wednesday, November 25, to carry over the meeting to make a decision.
To try and ensure councillors and council management can agree a budget, they will hold a number of workshop meetings before the budget is put before the elected members. The idea of holding the pre-budget workshops was proposed by Fianna Fáil Cllr Al McDonnell, who said how useful this process had been for members in recent discussions over the new county development plan.
His party colleague, Cllr Michael Loftus, told the October meeting of the local authority that this upcoming budget "would be the most difficult budget in memory" due to the impact of Covid-19 on the council's finances.
Cllr Paul McNamara (FF ) added that the council needed to look to central government for funding to fill in the gaps and the holes that had appeared in the council's finances over the past six months. Cllr Michael Burke (FG ) warned that there were no soft options ahead when it came to the budget and that both sides of the house would need to work together to get the best one possible.
Independent Cllr Patsy O'Brien said that the council needed to get back to the basics of what people wanted from the council when it came to where money was spent and that was the provision of basic services.
Acting chief executive for the council, Peter Duggen, agreed that holding workshops with the councillors would be beneficial and said he and his management team would be available to the councillors during the process.
He stated that the council has pressed central government on the need for them to come in with finances to support current shortfalls. The acting chief executive reminded the councillors that he has a legal obligation to present them with a balanced budget and it is up to them then to adopt it, with or without amendments.