Ferrybank local area office
Councillors told that if they do not adopt their Municipal District’s budget that “it is ultimately down to the chief executive as to what gets incorporated”.
Piltown MD’s discretionary budget was cut in the wake of Kilkenny Council’s financial shortfall which is in excess of one million euro.
The MD’s draft budget meeting was held this month and councillors were informed that they would receive €10,000 less in 2018 as there were “significant funding challenges to address”.
The local authority’s head of finance, Martin Prendiville, said there is “no one area” that will deal with the issue of the deficit but a number of areas.
At the meeting in Ferrybank, members were told the road budget for the local area would be €500,000 but that the discretionary general budget had been reduced from €50,000 to €40,000.
Chairperson of Piltown MD, Cllr Fidelis Doherty, said: “The €10,000 shortfall is substantial in the scheme of things. It’s concerning.”
She asked what the consequences were of councillors not accepting budgets and Mr Prendiville said if “it is not adopted it is ultimately down to the chief executive as to what gets incorporated”.
Cllr Pat Dunphy queried that if the members don’t adopt a budget that the chief executive can adopt it.
In response, Mr Prendiville directed members to the documentation provided at the meeting which read: “If the members of any MD do not adopt a draft budgetary plan the chief executive may take account of the draft budgetary plan as presented to members of that MD without amendment.”
Members were told that Castlecomer MD had already adopted the draft budget with the same cut of €10,000 imposed.
Members queried if it was possible to recoup the €10,000 if there is residual revenue available after the county budgetary process is complete and Mr Prendiville said there could be no guarantee.
They then asked if they agree on the €40,000 that is ring-fenced for the MD but Mr Prendiville added: “I’d be reasonably confident that it wouldn’t go below that [€40,000].”
The draft budgetary plan was passed and agreed by members except Cllr Melissa O’Neill who was “100% opposing the €40,000” and told the meeting she was disappointed by the €10,000 cut.
Mr Prendiville said getting the deficit down to €1.4 million at the time of the meeting meant there were issues they “had to make calls on” and a number of options will be put to members in due course to further alleviate the deficit.
Earlier this year, councillors opted not to vary the basic rate of tax, despite the council executive seeking a full 15% increase in order to balance expenditure demands with available income.
In September, Mr Prendiville informed members that there is additional expenditure arising of €2 million with only €250,000 available in additional income (additional rates premises).
The Council’s budget meeting is due to take place this month.