Vote local was the call from a number of members of Ballina Town Council this week as the council prepared its final budget before the dissolution of town councils in the summer.
Independent councillor Gerry Ginty led the call saying: “Vote for your townspeople, no matter what the party, vote for your own people.” Cllr Ginty’s call was backed by Fianna Fáil councillor Frances McAndrew who said: “Support the town, vote for your own candidates.” Fine Gael councillor Barry McLoughlin said: “We need to get the message out that we need representatives for Ballina, no matter what the political colour or creed. They are the ones who are going to look out for the town.”
At the budget meeting the councillors accepted the draft budget that was put before them by town manager Paul Benson with some minor changes and adopted the proposed rate of 64.52, the same as in 2013.
The councillors made their call in the background of the town council and its more than €5 million budget being subsumed into the larger municipal districts next summer. The councillors expressed their fears that the town would see a large drop in services and capital projects developed in the town, when the town council is abolished. Their achievements include investment of more than €3 million into the development of parks in the town over the past five years, and the money that has been given to community groups over the past number of years to improve the town.
Independent councillor Mary Kelly questioned what would happen with the three cities with which Ballina Town Council has been twinned, when the council is abolished, and requested that the council invite officials from those towns to Ballina for an official function before the end of the town council.