Councillor calls for additional €25m

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Cllr Des Guckian has demanded that Central Government provide an additional €25m in funding for Leitrim County Council for 2016 in addition to the proposed €32.1m budget, stating this was necessary to “get us out of the backwards state we are in now”.

Cllr Des Guckian has demanded that Central Government provide an additional €25m in funding for Leitrim County Council for 2016 in addition to the proposed €32.1m budget, stating this was necessary to “get us out of the backwards state we are in now”.

At Monday’s Council Budget meeting Cllr Guckian noted:“The lanes and byroads of the county are a pure disgrace and people are asking what benefit is there in paying the local property tax”.

He added that “millions of the Local Property Tax and Road Tax funding is going into Irish Water” and proposed that the councillors refuse to accept the draft budget before them, instead calling on the Government to provide an additional €25m in funding.

Such a figure, if granted, would put Leitrim’s budget above that of other more populated counties and it was unclear how Cllr Guckian thought the Government should fund this budget increase.

Despite calls for other councillors to back his proposal, no support was forthcoming for his demand of €25m, however other councillors agreed that there was a clear shortfall of funding.

“All over the country Local Authorities are trying to balance difficult budgets,” noted Cllr Sinead Guckian.

“Since 2008 our budget has fallen from €49m to just €32m in 2016. It is an impossible situation.”

Cllr Martin Kenny said that each year the Council was faced with a difficult budget.

“I agree the amount isn’t enough but it’s an unfortunate reality that we have such a low rates base in this county and no way to make up any additional funding. The budget before us is the best we can do.”

Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Bohan, said that the council could write to the Minister and stress the need for additional funds.

This proposal received the backing of other councillors and the draft budget was then adopted for 2016.