THE Town Rate for Shannon is to remain unchanged for 2011 at €2.11. Shannon Town Councillors passed the draft budget on Tuesday night, on a 5-4 vote.
While there wasn’t that much rancour prior to the vote, four members, Michael Fleming, Cathy McCafferty, Tony McMahon and Gerry Flynn, voted against it. However, the votes of Councillors Tony Mulcahy, Patricia McCarthy, Sean McLoughlin, Greg Duff and Mary Brennan got it through.
While the adopted expenditure for 2010 was €157,000, the adopted estimate for 2011 is €149,500.
Salaries being paid by the town council are to drop from €19,500 to €17,000. Expenditure on rates, insurance and maintenance at the town council is set to drop from €17,000 this year to €16,000. Expenses for council members is to drop from €19,000 to €18,500, while spending on promotional activity abroad will drop from €4,500 to €3,500.
The town council’s own income is expected to drop from €41,500 last year to €39,500 in 2011.
In the document accompanying the budget, town manager Bernadette Kinsella said things are tight.
“The draft budget has been prepared in a continuing difficult economic climate. This is reflected in a reduction of funds available from Clare County Council and the maintenance of commercial rates at 2010 levels in recognition of the demands being placed on the business community.
“The draft budget sets out the amounts necessary for the council to fund its operations for the coming year. Gross expenditure is estimated at €149,500 and projected income is estimated at €39,500. This results in a net expenditure of €110,000 and represents the demand from Clare County Council for 2011. This level of demand does not necessitate an increase in the town rate, which remains at €2.11.”
Ms Kinsella stated that she hopes more money will be available for community spending in the coming years. “The budget heading Contribution towards Community Initiatives is the annual funding set aside by Shannon Town Council to build up a Community Initiatives Fund to fund major projects during the term of the council. Provision has been made for the sum of €8,000, which is similar to the 2010 figure. It is hoped that as economic circumstances improve, the council will, in future budgets, be in a position to increase contributions to this fund.”
She said that efforts to combat littering are being maintained. “I have again continued the contribution of €35,000 towards the Community Social Economy on the basis that a recoupment will be obtained from Clare County Council of €21,000. This scheme has been very positively received in the town and has done much to tackle the problem of litter throughout the area. The council has worked very effectively with the Shannon Social Economy Scheme and the personnel employed for the task have performed exceptionally well and demonstrated a great interest in the work.”
She said she felt the budget had been as fair as possible.
“Overall, the budget for 2011 has represented a very difficult balance in terms of maintaining services while at the same time acknowledging the financial circumstances, which exist, both at public finance level and at individual enterprise level.
“I am confident that the draft budget achieves the balance required and will ensure that Shannon Town Council can fully contribute to and participate in a wide range of activities in 2011.
“It is essential that Shannon Town Council would continue to adopt a progressive and visionary approach to the discharging of its functions in what is the second largest town in the county.”