Council warning on frontline services

KILDARE County Council said this week it has been able to maintain front line services despite cutbacks, but the recent announcement by the Government on the household charges will have an impact on these, writes Henry Bauress.

KILDARE County Council said this week it has been able to maintain front line services despite cutbacks, but the recent announcement by the Government on the household charges will have an impact on these, writes Henry Bauress.

In its statement on 8 August, the Council said: “With major efficiencies and savings achieved in recent years, Kildare County Council, is among the local authorities that are now leading the reform agenda.

“The interim report of the Local Government Efficiency Review (LGER) Implementation Group by the County and City Manager’s Association (CCMA) shows that €830m in financial savings have already been delivered at local government level since 2008, through efficiency gains and reductions in expenditure and staff numbers.

“Significant efforts have been made by Kildare County Council over the last three years to reduce costs, with efficiencies in excess of €10m being achieved. The reduction in costs, together with efficiencies gained through the Croke Park agreement, and a move towards shared services, will help to maintain vital services in the county during 2012, despite the reduction in staffing resources.”

Kildare County Council’s Deputy County Manager, Mr Eamonn O’Sullivan, said this week that “these savings were achieved while maintaining front line services.”

But, he continued, “the recent announcement by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, of cuts in local government fund allocations for Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 of 2012, will undoubtedly impact on front line services in the county.”

As reported by the Leinster Leader in late July, the Council see its budget cut by 564,622 this quarter.

“Notwithstanding the efficiencies implemented to date, together with shared services and further planned initiatives, sustaining front line services at current levels will be a significant challenge for Kildare County Council,” said Mr Sullivan.

Addressing the meeting of Kildare County Council on Monday, 30 July 2012, Mr O’Sullivan said there were “difficult decisions facing the members of the Council in identifying budget adjustments for the remainder of the year, in light of the revised allocation from the Local Government Fund. “

“Based on the level of household charge payment in the county to date the Quarter 3 allocation will be reduced by €565,000 and, unless there is a significant improvement in the level of payment, the Quarter 4 allocation will be reduced by approximately €1.6m.

Mr O’Sullivan thanked householders who have paid the household charge to date and appealed to householders in the county who have not yet paid to support Kildare County Council by paying the €100 household charge as soon as possible, “in an effort to ensure that communities throughout the county continue to receive essential services in 2012.”

- Henry Bauress