Draft budgetary plan an ‘absolute insult to the people of Bray’
MEMBERS of Bray Municipal District approved a draft budgetary plan last week, which they called ‘farcical’.
Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council Frank Curran was present at the meeting.
‘It’s an utter and absolute insult to the people of Bray,’ said Cllr Joe Behan. ‘We have €71,000 to spend and the people of Bray contribute untold millions in property tax to the coffers of Wicklow County Council.
‘ There were only two of us here when we had Bray Urban District Council and were responsible for our own income and expenditure,’ said Cllr Behan. ‘ The sooner policy is changed and we are given power to raise finance locally to towns the size of Bray the better. It’s outrageous. It’s almost a waste of time to be talking or arguing about €71,000. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to what people in this district are paying out. Two or three years ago we didn’t accept the budget on principal, because it’s a farce.’
Cathaoirleach Cllr Christopher Fox said that he agreed with Cllr Behan. ‘ This whole process is farcical really,’ he said. ‘Not just the property tax, but parking fees, commercial rates. Bray Municipal District is the cash cow of Wicklow County Council. Wicklow is getting a bad deal nationally and Bray is getting a bad deal within Wicklow. There is an appetite for more discretionary funding at Municipal District Level. Members of all parties and none would agree. Bray money has filtered to the rest of the county.’
He said that he would prefer that community grant aid be done by the municipal district. ‘It’s a very localised scheme. It should be done by the Municipal District, there would be more engagement.’
Mr Curran said that much of the budget is fixed, in terms of salaries, for example, or road maintenance.
Members voted to approve the budget. Cllr Oliver O’Brien and Cllr Michael O’Connor abstained.
Councillors heard in previous years that if they did not approve, the county manager could impose the budget in any event.
Cllr Christopher Fox.