Council’s budget to fall by seven per cent next year

Elected members of Mayo County Council are to meet on Monday to consider a draft budget of €127.5 million in spending for the county in 2015.

The draft budget shows that expenditure in 2015 will decrease by 7.28 per cent on 2014 figures.

However, chief executive of the authority, Peter Hynes, has outlined in his statement on the draft budget, that he believes the reduction in spending has been achieved without “any significant diminution to date in the quality of the extensive range of services delivered at the frontline to the people of Mayo”.

This, he said, is in spite of increasing pressures on the authority in terms of compliance and regulation and a reduction in staffing levels in excess of 20 per cent.

In the draft budget, Mr Hynes also points to signs that a “modest recovery in the national and local economy is continuing” and there are a number of key projects in the pipeline with the potential to deliver significant benefits to the county.

“The prospects for a number of key projects moving ahead, including the Mayo Power Biomass Power Plant in Killala and the transatlantic fibre optic cable coming ashore, look good and the potential which they bring for North Mayo in particular is extremely exciting,” stated Mr Hynes.

“The prospect of developing another Signature Discovery Point and continuing the drive to establish Mayo as the ‘Heartbeat of the Wild Atlantic Way’ and the natural starting point for exploring the route either to the north or to the south will be one of our key challenges.”

Mr Hynes said tourism promotion will help to drive increased economic activity and prosperity for the county in 2015.

To that end, the authority is in the process of finalising a countywide tourism strategy for the next five years.

Safeguarding the future of Ireland West Airport Knock is also a key concern.

“The support of this council to Ireland West Airport Knock and our efforts in the tourism and enterprise areas will help to underpin, in collaboration with the board of the airport and the six other local authorities on the west coast, the continued viability of this vital piece of infrastructure,” states Mr Hynes.

“Mayo County Council will need to drive this initiative and work to ensure that the target of 1.2 million passengers, together with increased international connectivity, is delivered over the next five years. The continued support of the relevant Government Departments will be critical in this regard.”

Mayo County Council is due to meet to consider the draft budget at 10 am in Áras an Chontae, Castlebar, on Monday next.

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