Council budget meeting postponement blasted

by Gazette Reporter
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North Dublin councillors have criticised the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government after Fingal County Council (FCC) had to postpone their annual budget meeting until January.
The meeting was due to be held on December 20 but last week the council announced that it would be deferred until January 10. At the time of the decision, the local authority had not received their budget allocations for 2014.
The allocations have since been issued to councils nationwide, but the meeting remains deferred until the New Year.
Following the postponement, Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said the council “had no choice” but to postpone the meeting.
“So we are going to go into 2014 without a council budget having been set,” he said.
“What makes this even more unusual,” he continued, “is that the Government this year passed its budget in October, earlier than normal and property owners had to declare their 2014 Local Property Tax payments in November just gone.”
Cllr Butler said the delay could potentially cause cash flow problems for the council.
Also reacting to the decision was Cllr Ciaran Byrne (Lab), who said he found it “incredible and unacceptable” that the Government had not issued budget allocations in time to have a meeting in December.
“I mean, did they ever hear of computers? Do they not actually know how to crunch numbers and get results? They must, presumably from last year’s property tax, have some idea what the income from that source is going to be.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment said that the details of the funding that councils would receive from Irish Water through their Service Level Agreements, which used to be paid via the General Purpose Grant system, were being finalised.

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