Following their second public meeting and after a number of behind closed doors sessions the elected members of Ballina Town Council finalised their budget for 2013 on Wednesday evening. Following the protracted discussions, the members agreed to keep the commercial rate the same in the town as the previous year at a figure of €64.52 in the euro, but made a number of changes to the spending priorities in the budget.
One of the main changes to the budget was the provision of €80,000 for the construction of a public toilet in the town, despite the warnings from town manager, Paul Benson that even with a charge a public toilet would be in no way self financing. However there was cross-party support for the provision of the facility with both Fine Gael Cllr Mark Winters and Fianna Fáil Cllr Johnny O’Malley pushing the issue.
As part of a proposed new development by Tesco to expand their current store in the town a public toilet has been included in plans, but as of yet no formal planning application has been made by the supermarket giant. Cllr Winters proposed that the council erect a public toilet in the Teeling Street car park if there is no concrete planning application in the next six months, while Cllr O’Malley told the meeting that the public cannot understand why it has not been provided in the town already. To fund this project the councillors agreed to take €30,000 from the parks budget and the majority of the rest of the money from the money that had been set aside for the provision of vehicles for the town council.
Other provisions that the councillors included in their €6.9 million budget was the allocation of €10,000 for mounting a campaign to bring the Fleadh back to Ballina, €10,000 for a gum buster to clean up the streets from chewing gum which all the members agreed was a blight on the towns streets and the allocation of €5,000 for the North West Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the same amount to the St Patrick’s Day Parade committee.