Local authority finances to the fore next week

It is going to be a busy few days for the county councillors and town councillors across Mayo next week as Mayo County Council and the three town councils sit down to thrash out their budgets for the coming year. For businesses across the county the news that none of the four local authorities is looking for a increase in the commercial rate it levies will be welcome news as they head into the next year, with Castlebar Town Council actually proposing to cut its rate.

However the rate levied still differs across the four authorities with the proposed county council rate set at 68.76, Castlebar Town Council’s at 69.53, Ballina Town Council’s at 64.52, and Ballina Town Council’s at 63.55.

One major change for the councils this year is the establishment of Irish Water which will take over the responsibility for the provision of water services from Mayo County Council’s control, however the council will still be providing the service as an agent for Irish Water.

Mayo County Council’s budget for the coming year will be €124,476,404, an increase of 3.6 per cent from last year, which in turn is a €28.1 million reduction or 18.5 per cent from the figure in 2008.

Westport Town Council has budgeted for an expenditure of €4,842,026, a reduction of €479,112 on the figures for 2013. But with Irish Water taking over the provision of water services from the start of the year, an adjusted figure of a reduction of €179,112 is expected to be the outcome, which represents a 3.4 per cent reduction from last year.

Ballina Town Council has a proposed budget of €5,227,756 for the year ahead, last year the council’s budget for the year was in the region of €6.9 million. Castlebar Town Council’s draft budget provides for an expenditure of €6,407,306 this year and a proposed rates reduction to 69.53 from 70.23, a second cut two years in a row by the local authority.

NPPR income no longer there for councils

All four local authorities along with dealing with the hand over of the provision of water services to Irish Water will also this year have to do without the income stream from the non principal private residents charge (NPPR ) which is not expected to be fully recouped through the local government fund, with Westport Town Council planning for a reduction in income of €255,000 from the loss of this charge, while Ballina Town Council last year collected €256,148 from same charge. In Castlebar the income from the charge was €351,000 last year. Last year Mayo County Council adopted an expected income from the NPPR of €1,730,000 but it is expected to actually yield a return of €2,130,000 to the council.

Independent Mayo County and Castlebar town councillor Michael Kilcoyne bemoaned the loss of the NPPR to the councils. “The NPPR is going to be a big loss to the council’s finances going on. It’s being abolished because the property tax was introduced, which we were told was going to go to local services and projects. But it’s going to a big pot and then divided out. It’s not good enough at all. At least the NPPR went directly to the councils. ”

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