“Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul?” asked Cllr Seamus Weir this week when the Ballina Electoral Area Committee was discussing the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS ) part of the roadworks scheme for the area.
Paul Dolan, acting senior engineer for Mayo County Council, outlined the roads grants that had been received for the area from central and local government, and arranged to have a workshop meeting with the councillors in the coming week to plan this year’s works.
He informed the members that there was in the region of €20,000 per councillor available to be used under LIS this year, but this would be taken out of the budget for work on local public roads up to a maximum of 15 per cent of that budget. He also went on to say that there would have to be a local contribution of 20 per cent of the cost of the work that would be carried out on the private roads under the scheme.
Cllr Weir questioned was it a good thing for the LIS to be taking money out of the public roads budget and putting it into the LIS schemes, even though a lot of work needed to be done on a number of roads that that weren’t public roads, especially with the bad weather recently. Cllr Annie May Reape called on the Government to increase the grants back up to where they were in the past for LIS work and to have a separate allocation for them. Cllr Eddie Staunton said that he had a number of schemes that he had promised funding for under this heading for a number of years that he hoped to see done this year.
Mr Dolan said that any money that wasn’t allocated by councillors under this heading this year would be put back into the public roads budget during the year.