No rent increase in draft council revenue budget

Donegal county councillors next week will be asked to consider a draft revenue budget of 138,298,660 euro for 2014.

Donegal county councillors next week will be asked to consider a draft revenue budget of 138,298,660 euro for 2014.

The Democrat has learned that the draft revenue budget does not call for an increase in council rates, maintaining them at the 69.70 level in the 2013 council budget.

The package is 5.175 million euro more than the council’s adopted budget for 2014 and 3.948 million more than the local authority’s expected outturn for 2013.

The council’s budget meeting is scheduled for 10am, Wednesday, Dec. 18th, in County House, Lifford. This will be the last county council budget before Donegal’s four town councils are abolished, if government proposals are implemented.

The budget also includes a new line of income, 29.5 million euro, from a service-level agreement with Irish Water, the new national water authority that will come into force on Jan. 1st.

The revenue budget is also understood to contain no provisions to apply a general rent increase, though a new national rent framework will be introduced by regulation that will require every local authority to have a new scheme in place by 2015.

During last year’s marathon budget meeting, which in a reconvened session stretched overnight and concluded after 5am, councillors spoke of the need for the local authority to increase spending on housing maintenance. The draft revenue budget for next year proposes supplementing the maintenance provision in the revenue budget by 350,000 euro a year over the next number of years to address the issue of vacant council housing. The council currently has 160 vacancies in its housing stock.

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