Council on course to meet £2m efficiency target

Guildhall, Derry.

Guildhall, Derry.

The city accountant Alfie Dallas reported that Derry City and Strabane District is on course to meet its £2m efficiency savings target at the Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday.

But he cautioned that now was not yet the time to extend Council largesse by way of reinvestment in the local authority’s extensive capital programme.

In a report on the Council’s six month financial outturn position, the Council’s Lead Finance Officer told committee members that he was reporting a surplus of £1,037,000 for the first six months. He said this was a “very positive position” and would hopefully translate into further savings during the remaining six months of the current financial year.

Chief Executive John Kelpie agreed but equally urged caution, saying the surplus amounted to a mere 1/50 of the Council’s overall budget.

Mr Dallas’ report was broadly welcomed by committee members although during exchanges a suggestion by Independent Paul Gallagher that the projected £2m saving be used as collateral to borrow and advance the Strabane and Templemore sports complexes specifically was rejected by Sinn Féin, the SDLP and DUP as “reckless”.

Mr Dallas said “further consideration should be given to reinvestment of this surplus in other corporate priorities at the nine month financial outturn and year-end outturn stages” adding “whilst this is a positive position, it is considered too early in the year to consider reinvestment”.