offaly County Council have recorded a €759,918 deficit for the first three months of this year with one councillor starkly claiming that if this trend continues they are staring down the barrell of a crippling €5 million deficit.
At Monday’s meeting (yesterday, May 21) of the council, which was historically held in Mountbolus for the first time, Head of Finance Declan Conlon presented members with the income and expenditure summary until the end of March of this year.
Of this figure, €435,258 was spent on unbudgeted retirements, €65,440 on water write offs, a water consumption revenue loss of €273,821, as well as €14,601 on miscellaneous spends.
Mr Conlon said the introduction of commercial water rates saw some businesses taking action such as drilling their own wells or harvesting rainfall, resulting in a decrease in water consumption.
“The local authority is the only public sector body which has to make provision out of their own budgets for retirements,” said Cllr Sinead Dooley.
“How do the Government expect us to run services and take these into account,” she said, adding the state pays for HSE retirements.
Cllr Dervill Dolan said if the trend is to continue the council would be looking at a €5 million deficit at the end of the year.
He said with the council expected to pay wages, retirements and pensions it would soon become no more than “an employment agency”, which will only have enough money to pay people and “won’t have a kettle of tar for any road in the county.”
Cllr John Leahy expressed his concern in relation to the household charge stating that a householder who paid the charge in Rath got an e-mail back thanking them “on behalf of Tipperary County Council.”
Mr Conlon said he had briefed the county manager about the deficit and they were engaged in a process of what to do to address the deficit and were drawing up a list of what they could do.
He added they would address the members at the June meeting of proposals they had come up with.
Cllr Dooley asked that LAMA and ACC be written to in order to make the payment of retirements a national issue.