€140m budget gets the green light

Tamara O’Connell

Louth County Council (LCC) adopted its budget for 2022 at a meeting held in Dundalk on Monday, November 15.
The meeting – which took place in St Gerard’s Hall, St Alphonsus Road – saw the budget pass by 20 votes to six.
All of the Sinn Fein councillors at the meeting voted against the budget, which provides for an expenditure of €140.3 million – an increase of €9.8 million on this year.
Commercial rates and pay parking charges will remain unchanged next year.

Speaking at the meeting LCC Chief Executive Joan Martin said “the bottom line is we are still operating off the same basic income. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for manoeuvre”.
“There are increased costs and a high rate of inflation…We are hoping that when things settle down after the pandemic, we will be in a better position to move into the alignment of rates in the 2023 budget.
“The other black hole sitting over me when getting the budget ready are extra costs such as hand sanitiser and extra laptops.”

Ms Martin added that the local authority’s income for 2021 is down at least €1 million, mostly because of pay parking losses arising from Covid.
Green Party Cllr Marianne Butler put forward a proposal that the Municipal Allocation of €75,000 for each of the three districts in the county be changed to €30,000 per district with the balance divided by the number of councillors in each district.

Fianna Fail Councillor John Sheridan spoke out against the proposal, which was ultimately defeated.
He compared it to school with the big kids in class wanting to take lunch money off the little kids.
“Ardee is the smallest in class with only six councillors. What can we do if the big kids decide to take money off us?” he said.

Meanwhile, the key focus on the Directorate in the coming years will be the delivery of the objectives and targets set out in the Government’s new Housing Strategy – “Housing for All” which was launched in September.
For the five-year period from 2022-2026, LCC have a delivery target of 1,357 units of which 694 units are to be delivered in 2022.

Delivery will in the main be focused on new build units in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies.

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