Councillors fear interim budget over income fall

Dramatic falls in income from pay parking and commercial water rates in Cork City have sparked fears the council is facing a mini-budget.

Several city councillors expressed concern at this week’s meeting that more services will be cut if income streams continue to fall.

Officials disclosed pay parking income for the first quarter was down €350,000. If the trend continues, the shortfall for the year could be up to €700,000.

Income from commercial water rates, meanwhile, fell €200,000 for the same period, which, if the trend continues, could see a projected shortfall of between €600,000 and €700,000.

Socialist Party Cllr Mick Barry said the total project shortfall in just these two income areas could be as high as €1.4m.

If other income areas are under similar pressure, the overall shortfall could be even higher, he said.

City manager Tim Lucey said officials are analysing the figures and advised he will bring a full report to councillors next month setting out the city’s financial position and outlining whether “an adjustment” in the 2012 budget, agreed last December, will be required to balance the books.

Mr Lucey said: “Clearly, in adopting the 2012 budget, the message was that we would have to live within the income generated for the year.

“In relation to the majority of our expenditure, we are within budget.

“But we are going through, in detail, three or four income sources to assess whether it’s a trend or not.”

Mr Lucey said the council had achieved savings in other areas, including its drainage section where costs are down €600,000.

But he warned: “If we can maintain income, we can maintain services. If we can’t, then decisions have to be made on achieving savings internally, or in other areas.”

Councillors will be briefed on the full state of the city’s finances in the second week in June.


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