Cutbacks announced at Kildare County Council emergency budget meeting

A raft of savage budget cuts were announced at Friday afternoon’s Kildare County Council special meeting.

A raft of savage budget cuts were announced at Friday afternoon’s Kildare County Council special meeting.

The Council is facing a shortfall of €2.2 million in funding from central government. The latest figures show that just 59.3 per cent of eligible Kildare householders have paid the €100 household charge.

Cutbacks of €353,000 have had to be made in the budget for the third quarter of this year. These were the cuts discussed at Friday afternoon’s meetng.

Further cuts of up to €1.6 million may still have to be made in the last three months of the year. The county’s Fire Service may be among those hit by the next raft of budget savings.

Cuts announced on Friday include: a cut in the household/cultural services budget of €280,000. This includes €50,000 in cuts to legal costs; a suspension of all housing grants and €80,000 off the playgrounds and €20,000 off the libraries budget.

As a result there will be a curtailment of several frontline services. Clane playground will now not be resurfaced. Neither will there be tree pruning of any sort carried out in the county.

There will be €30,000 worth of cutbacks made to the Council’s Roads and Transport Services, including a curtailment of street sweeping and bin collection services, as overtime hours are reduced. For example, there will be no cleaning of Kildare Town after its weekly market day.

There will be €185,000 worth of cuts made to Water and Environment services, including reductions in burial ground grants, and, crontroversially, Tidy Towns Grants.

In the Central Management budget, cutbacks will include IT maintenance deferrals, which will be expected to save €40,000.

Councillors attending this afternoon’s meeting voted to postpone travel to conferences for the rest of the year, saving €30,000, and training for council staff has been curtailed to the tune of €20,000.

Kildare Mayor Micheal ‘Spike’ Nolan urged Kildare householders to pay their household charge as soon as possible, saying every citizen will be affected by the cutbacks.

He said it was a “very sad day for the county and the people of this county”.

Cllr Senan Griffin said that the Department have “made a right mess” of the Household Charge.

Kildare County Manager Michael Malone told the meeting that the cuts were a necessity. “It’s not about fairness. I cannot spend moneyI don’t have,” he said.

- Lisa Deeney reporting from Aras Chill Dara.

For more from the meeting follow @DeeneyLisa on Twitter.

Full analysis and report from meeting in next Tuesday’s Leinster Leader.