In the last three years Leitrim County Council has achieved savings of nearly €6.7m as part of cost saving measures. Staff levels have also taken a huge hit with numbers down by 27% in the period between 2008 and 2012.
Following the release of the Local Government Efficiency Review (LGER) Implementation Group Interim Report last week, County Manager, Jackie Maguire told the Leitrim Observer that Leitrim’s Council had achieved savings of €6.69m (gross) during the period from January 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012.
She said the Council has also delivered additional savings of almost €4m since 1st January 2009, generated through other payroll reductions associated with the non-replacement of various forms of leave (career breaks, workshare arrangements, carers and parental leave etc) and overtime savings as well as administrative efficiency savings.
“The focus of all local government reforms is to maximise efficiencies while minimising impacts on front line services and supporting local enterprise.
“Our focus in Leitrim is no different. Commercial rates were reduced to 2008 levels and have been maintained at this rate and efficiencies through changed work practices, additional shared services, re-organisation, restructuring, prioritisation of services and allocation of necessary resources having regard to operational needs and demands have delivered much needed savings,” she explained.
According to figures released by the Council the reduction in staff numbers is 98.5 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Staff from 365 at June 30, 2008 to 267 at March 31, 2012.
“To date the Council has maintained service levels with minimal impact on front line services. However given the impact of reductions in the Local Government Fund and other funding and income streams, and notwithstanding the efficiency and productivity measures implemented to date and further initiatives planned, the sustainment of front line services at the same levels as heretofore remains a very significant challenge for Leitrim County Council over the next number of years.”
The reform process for local government will now enter its second stage and Ms Maguire said “Leitrim County Council will continue to work with our partner Local Authorities across the sector to deliver on this”.