Concern at budget process

Councillors in Letterkenny have expressed concern at the budget process for the municipal district which means the councillors must approve a budget without knowing the final allocation.

The timetable for the budget imposed on the municipal direct means councillors must approve the municipal district budgets before their allocation is approved by the plenary council in Lifford.

At last week’s budget meeting in Letterkenny councillors were told that discussions with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government have taken place over the timing required under the current regulations regarding the general municipal allocations.

Councillors were told that department officials have acknowledged the challenges associated with the regulations and will begin a detailed review in December.

In the meantime councillors were recommended to approve an amount equivalent to €20,000 per member, with the final decision to be approved in Lifford at the plenary budget meeting.

Letterkenny councilors approved an allocation of €200,000 but they expressed their disapproval at the process.

Cllr. Gerry McMonagle (SF) said the process is not satisfactory but councillors will have to work with it until it is reviewed.

“The problem we all have, and all the councillors spoke about it, is that we are passing a budget without knowing what we are actually going to get,” he said.

“It is down to the legislation and the time frames that the government put in place when they changed their budgetary procedures. Hopefully after the promised review we will ensure that before we take any budgetary decision, we will be aware of what monies we have at our disposal.”

Cllr. McMonagle said the municipal district was suffering from a shortage of money.

He has now requested a breakdown of figures on the combined spending of the old town council and the electoral area to compare that with what the municipal district has to spend.

“There is money for nothing, we are on a very tight budget,” he said.

“ We are certainly not getting enough money from central government,” he added.

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