THE local authority budget for Edenderry Town Council for 2012 is almost €7,000 less than that for 2011 according to figures presented to members at its December meeting last week.
The budget for 2011 was €57,403 while the budget agreed for 2012 is €50,666. This includes an allowance of €9,000 for councillors to attend conferences, almost a fifth of their budget.Director of Services Declan Conlon pointed out that fewer businesses in the town are trading and as a result there has been a 20% reduction in the Council’s income from rates. He defended Offaly County Council’s rateable valuation figure saying it was one of the lowest in the country and had not been increased in the past four years and was in fact at a ten year low.
Cllr Finian O’Neill said it was a good sign that rates were not going up, but he asked could they be reduced? Mr Conlon pointed out that the amount the council receives from central government had gone down by €5 million which was a huge drop.
“The amount we have to spend is spread over a wide area of services. There is less money to go around, choices have to be made. Staff are not being replaced and have not since 2008. In fact our staffing levels are down 23% because of the embargo and the ending on contracts. It is a vicious circle and it is very frustrating for us too,” added the Director of Services.
Edenderry Town Council’s Expenditure figures (Total €50,666) for 2012:
Conferences €9,000, Members Expenses €9,162, Salaries €14,500, Insurance €2,000, Printing & Advertising €1,000, Office Expenses €1,185, Audit Fees €1,100, AMAI Affiliation fee €550, Local Elections €3,000, Special Project Fund €8,469, Cathaoirleach Allowance €700.