Serious implications for services if cuts come

Donegal County Council have confirmed that there are likely to be serious implications for council services if the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government implements its threatened €4 million cut in council funding.

The department has linked the cut in the council’s Local Government Fund allocation with the level of household charge payment in the county, and reported in late July that about 47 percent of eligible Donegal people had paid the charge.

Garry Martin, council director of finance, said the council did not want to be in a position where they had to consider reducing spending levels.

“However, it is clear that unless there is a material increase in the overall level of payment in County Donegal that this may very well manifest itself in the coming months,” Mr. Martin said.

He said an increase in the rate of household-charge payment in the county “to an acceptable level will, based upon department indications, ensure that the level of reduction in the local government fund is minimised.”

The department said the council could see a cut of more than €4 million from the council’s Local Government Fund allocation, based on the current rate of household-charge payment.

This “would have substantially detrimental effects on the service that we provide,” Mr. Martin said.

He said the county collection rate will be reviewed in September, when the council will be in a better position to determine if an increased collection rate reduces the allocation cut the council faces.

Mr. Martin thanked those people who had paid the household charge and who are engaging with the council to pay the charge, and pointed out that additional charges and interest accrue for non-payment. For example, he said, the €100 charge is €115 for people who do not pay it until August.

“I would appeal again to those who have not yet paid the charge to do so at the earliest possible opportunity, given that the charge is clearly one that is linked to our capacity to provide the planned services for the year,” he said.