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Government funding slashed by over €500,000 in Ballina

Government funding slashed by over €500,000 in Ballina

Anton McNulty

Ballina Town Council’s local government grant fund has been slashed by over half a million euro in the last five years but rates will not be increased to fill the funding void.
Ballina Town Council’s local government fund is to be reduced by five per cent in 2013 to €1.209,373 and is €584,406 less than what they received in 2008. Despite this, the Town Manager Paul Benson indicated in the annual draft budget and manager’s report that the Council will not be seeking any increase in the municipal rate which is currently set at 64.52.
Members of Ballina Town Council are due to meet next Tuesday, January 15 to formally discuss the budget and adopt it or make amendments where necessary.
In his report, Mr Benson revealed that the rate is currently less than what it was in 2007 when he explained other income streams available to the Council were much higher that today.
“I am conscious of the difficult business environment that pertains throughout the country and Ballina town is no different,” he said. “In order to mitigate the pressure on the town’s ratepayers I do not propose to seek any increase in the municipal rate for 2013.”
The shortfall in funding will not be met by the introduction of the new property tax as this will serve to replace exchequer funding into the future. Mr Benson revealed that it will cost the Council approximately €9,000 in 2013 as they will have to pay the tax on most of its local authority stock.
Rate income represents approximately 47 per cent of Ballina Town Council’s overall income and is expected to generate an income in 2013 of approximately €2.8 million. While he said there would be no increase in the rate, Mr Benson stated that those who do not pay will be ‘pursued vigorously’ where there is an ability to pay..
Mr Benson stated that this may be the last budget adopted by Ballina Town Council if proposals to abolish town councils are implemented and he asked the councillors to focus on delivering smaller projects.

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