NEWBRIDGE Town Councillors picked over the carcass of next year’s budget for the slim pickings of €5,000 requested from local tourism promotion group Kildare Failte to help promote The Gathering 2013 in the county.
Councillors debated whether or not there was enough in the budget to provide that amount to Kildare Failte and raised concerns that it would be at “the expense of local community groups”.
Cllr Willie Hamilton felt that the figure for Kildare Failte should be lower, as the€204,820 budget for Newbridge Town Council is significantly smaller than that of of Athy and Naas Town Council, who were also asked to donate the same sum.
“This should be on a pro-rata basis,” he said. “We’ll give the same percentage of our budget as every body else.”
Cllr Hamilton proposed to pay Kildare Failte in proportion and not the set fee of €5,000. However his proposal was not seconded at the meeting.
Instead, Councillors delved into every area of the budget with a fine tooth comb to locate the required amount. “If we fall short of the €5,000, will we be frowned upon?” asked Mayor of Newbridge Murty Aspell. Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin proposed that only 50 percent or €2,500 be made available to Kildare Failte and described it as “our the bottom line”.
Town Manager, John Lahart warned it would cast to some degree the support of Newbridge Town Council ‘in a poor light’. Funds were then taken from the councillors’ own mobile phone allowance, their conference allowance and from the Town Park security funding figure to make up the €5,000.
- Paula Campbell