Concerns over council budget

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Significantly less money will be available to deliver revenue and capital projects in Derry next year, the chief executive of Derry and Strabane District Council has said.

Mr Kelpie made his comments at a meeting of the Governance and Strategic Planning committee in Derry’s Guildhall on Monday.

He said that while functions transferring to council from the Department of Social Development include community development and capital development works, the budgets transferring are “falling significantly short”.

Mr Kelpie said: “If council makes a decision to fund revenue only there will be no money for capital projects.”

It’s believed the sum of money allowed for the transferring works falls around £3.8m short of the amount spent on average within the combined council area.

Mr. Kelpie said the funding shortfall was a “massive concern” for the new council going forward. His concerns were echoed by independent councillor Dee Quigley who said he was worried about those community groups who might be impacted by the shortfall and the people who depend on and work for those groups.

The SDLP’s Gus Hastings said it was importance that some semblance of order was given in terms of the impact of the budget shortfall, adding that if the shortfall is implemented, some people’s roles will be at risk.

He went on to say that without neighbourhood renewal funding, a lot of services would have been decimated this year.