Lismore Town Council budget passed with little fanfare
Lismore Town Council’s budget was passed with little fanfare at their recent monthly meeting in December. Normally deciding the annual budget involves a fair amount of discussion and debate, regardless of how modest the figures are.
The only aspect of Lismore’s budget that was questioned this year was the proposal by the county council to take out the €1,000 allocation for elections. Members wanted it retained and got their way, leaving them with a budget of €24,700 for the year ahead, the same amount as last year.
The members insistence on the €1,000 being retained in the budget is somewhat surprising, given that town councils’ are facing abolition. That subject was discussed at length at the meeting. Councillor John Heneghan said he’d seen the list of town councils’ budgets, commenting “we are the cheapest to run.”
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The fact that it was run so prudently showed that everyone was totally committed to what they were elected to do, Councillor Jimmy O’Gorman remarked. “I don’t think the town realises the work we do. They will have a bigger body representing their interests following the reforms,” he said. He thinks the town council members should be prepared to continue to serve the town in whatever capacity they can.
Cllr Heneghan said their biggest asset is being able to talk to county council officials and get answers to their queries. “I think if abolition happens we could still have a town council elected with nine members, it wouldn’t be statutory but it would serve the town,” he said. “We should make sure that, come 2014, this town will continue to be well represented,” Cllr. O’Gorman agreed.
Councillor Jan Rotte pointed out that county councils will also be removed, to be replaced by the new district councils, consisting of six to seven elected members. Dungarvan and Tramore would form the majority of the new district council and will meet only three to four times a year. Tramore and Waterford city will have the majority of councillors on the new body. He said it was important for all of them to be involved in the new district councils as people from the Lismore area were needed. “They’ll be making the important decisions,” he stressed.
Town manager, Michael Quinn was asked for his thoughts on the subject. He feels it will be a big challenge integrating the two bodies; town and county councils. “They are two very different organisations and will have very different priorities. It will be very challenging. The city council has a very different focus to the county. The real danger is that the focus on areas like this could be lost,” he told members.