Harsh­est cut­backs for ‘many years’

Bray People - - News -

ELECTED mem­bers of Wick­low County Coun­cil and man­age­ment staff were still in dis­cus­sions over the 2009 An­nual Bud­get which has been de­scribed as con­tain­ing the most dra­matic and harsh cut­backs for many years.

In a lengthy meet­ing last week, one thing that all coun­cil­lors and man­age­ment agreed on is that there is sim­ply not enough money to go around.

It was when it came to where spe­cific cut backs would be made that ten­sions flared.

A to­tal fig­ure of €113.8m has been es­ti­mated by the County Man­ager Ed­die Sheehy for ex­pen­di­ture on 2009 which in­cludes a €20.5m Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Fund grant which is de­creased by 6.33 per cent com­pared with 2008.

Is­sues which are ex­pected to im­pact largely on the Coun­cil’s ex­pen­di­ture in the com­ing year in­clude ris­ing en­ergy charges such as gas which in­creased re­cently by 20 per cent and elec­tric­ity which jumped by 17.5 per cent in Au­gust.

In his re­port Mr. Sheehy urged coun­cil­lors to ac­cept his pro­posal for a com­mer­cial rates in­crease of 4.9 per cent.

Staffing lev­els within the coun­cil it­self face a three per cent cut with mem­bers in­formed that many va­can­cies will now not be filled and con­tracts will be re­assessed upon ex­piry.

It is ex­pected that due to a sharp de­crease in prop­erty de­vel­op­ment a to­tal of €125,000 from plan­ning levies will be lost while li­brary fund­ing is pro­posed to be re­duced by €83,000.

Mem­bers voiced con­cerns about var­i­ous is­sues in­clud­ing re­cy­cling cut­backs, job losses and re­pairs for el­derly Coun­cil ten­ants.

County Man­ager Ed­die Sheehy.

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