Rural councils face brunt of cutbacks

The Department of the Environment has written to all county and city managers giving updated details of the sums deducted from their funding as a result of the non-payment of the €100 household charge.

The letter outlines cuts of up to €1.2m from third- quarter grants from the central local authority fund based on the level of compliance with the levy in their councils.

Smaller, rural councils are the worst hit because they are more reliant on the funding than urban areas, which get more commercial rates from businesses.

The managers have a legal obligation to balance their budgets and will therefore have to make cuts to many community services.

Paul McSweeney of the Local Authority Management Agency, which is tasked with collecting the household charge, warned this week that “extreme measures” will be taken by councils to slash spending.

He said if there was not enough money, services would be stopped “which is why parks will be closed, mobile libraries won’t be going out, we may have to start switching off street lights except at junctions”.

Donegal has the lowest level of compliance with just 49% of households having paid. Its county council has had its funding cut from €7.7m to €6.6m.

Cork County Council has had its funding from June to September cut by almost €1m to €7.3m. It has already decided to suspend paying out €250,000 on community grants in order to achieve savings.

Local authority managers were told that if the rate of compliance improved, their funding would be restored accordingly before the end of the year.

Finance officers in most local authorities are drawing up budget reports to identify areas which can be cut, which will be discussed by councillors when they meet again in September.

Cutting staff wages is not an option because they are protected under the Croke Park Agreement.

Emergency services will also have to be retained, meaning other services such as libraries and community schemes will be hit.

Council deductions

Deductions from third-quarter installments of the local authority fund:

Carlow County Council: €246,235

Cavan County Council: €419,804

Clare County Council: €243,631

Cork City Council: €446,103

Cork County Council: €979,559

Donegal County Council: €1,016,872

Dublin City Council: €1,172,960

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council: €343,583

Fingal County Council: €545,285

Galway City Council: €123,887

Galway County Council: €779,835

Kerry County Council: €417,043

Kildare County Council: €564,622

Kilkenny County Council: €412,407

Laois County Council: €409,600

Leitrim County Council: €291,318

Limerick City Council: €203,098

Limerick County Council: €453,821

Longford County Council: €330,750

Louth County Council: €278,293

Mayo County Council: €641,589

Meath County Council: €644,835

Monaghan County Council: €340,589

Tipp NR County Council: €376,593

Offaly County Council: €386,784

Roscommon County Council: €436,249

Sligo County Council: €325,113

Sth Dublin County Council: €475,210

Tipp SR County Council: €462,782

Waterford City Council: €154,343

Waterford County Council: €507,283

Westmeath County Council: €414,356

Wexford County Council: €481,697

Wicklow County Council: €369,163

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