I spoke on Highland Radio today about upcoming budgetary cuts that will bring in drastic reductions in local authority services. In doing so, Ialso cautioned that hikes in water charges are on the cards. This followed revelations in weekend newspapers that cuts of up to 10 per cent in local government funding are expected next year.
The Local Government Fund has been reduced in recent yeras and the non-principal private residence tax that Donegal Co Council collect already goes directly to Dublin.
Services such as housing, waste, water treatment and the issue of unfinished estates which are already major problems in Donegal will be impacted upon seriously here. We have a major task to maintain services in the county and the actions of this government in squandering the country’s wealth is now coming home to roost.
The County and Town Council in Letterkenny are being told to budget for cuts in the region of 8 to 10 per cent which would save the Exchequer €87 million across all local authorities, many of which are starting to prepare their budgets for publication at the end of the month. Because we are committed to reducing commercial rates to assist business we have no control over water charges that are set by the county manager. Expect to see this charge increased in Donegal as our rates base is dwindling.
The local roads programme is dealt with separately by the Department of the Environment, and cost adjustments are also expected in this area, perhaps in the region of 5-10 %.
The Labour group on Donegal County Council would seek to protect small businesses as much as possible and we are determined to ensure no increase in commercial rates given that we’re facing a 10 per cent cut on the local government grant..
The “tough” decisions of the FF /Green Government are similar to the Conservative cheerleaders who clapped when cuts to local authority services were announced last week in the UK. We are seeing the emergence of this mentality here now and the result of mismanagement of our finances will have a serious impact on the lives of citizens in Donegal.