Spending a penny in a public toilet in county Kildare may be a great relief to some, but county councillors are looking at some relief from the cost of doing this type of business.
At their annual budget meeting on Monday, November 20, Naas’ Cllr Seamie Moore raised the question of the leaking budget.
“It’s definitely not value for money,” said Cllr Moore of the €144,000 a year spent last year and estimated to be spent this year.
The meeting heard that the Council local is planning to terminate the contracts but Cllr Thomas Redmond did raise concerns about people with disabilities in particular, and where they might go when in public.
Overall, the council has fixed a budget for next year which will see over all current spending increase by over six per cent to €152.4 million.
The Council estimates spending will go up by 6.4% but income will rise 11.6% to €69.1m.
The report to elected members said that due to rates revaluation, there will be no increase in the rateable valuation for 2018.
Chief Executive, Peter Carey, said this is the ninth successive year of restraint for the majority of ratepayers in Kildare.
But he also told members that the Council is struggling to keep pace with growth of the county.
The Valuation Office issued 5,054 Valuation Certificates in September. The preliminary results indicate that 52.2% of ratepayers will get a reduction in rates and 42.2% an increase.
Another 5.6% will have no change.
Rates bring in the Council around €59m and the top 14% produce 79% of the income.
The report said 86% pay less than €10,000 a year and 71.5% pay less than €5,000.
Just over a third pay less than €2,000.
The Council is maintaining its practice of not charging rates for vacant properties.
Overall around 74% of Council income comes from local sources.
One is the Local Property Tax (LPT), of which the Council retained €3,242,880 to fund projects in the various districts.
Of this €2,285,000 went on roads, paths and traffic improvements and another €1,432,000 in community grants.
On the income side, the Council expects to get €39.8m in 2018 from goods and services, including €8.9m from rents from its houses, €2.8m in parking fines, €9.1m from Irish Water and €1m approximately from planning fees.
Another €440,000 comes from fire charges.
The meeting heard that the Council will have more budget for library staff, to help a library if it has to shut because the librarian is sick on or holidays.
On recycling, the meeting heard from Director of Service, Joe Boland, that the Council has identified a civic waste recycling site at Kilmacredock in Leixlip.
He said it is unlikely to be up and running in 2018 but is very much a priority.
Not everyone voted for the Budget.
Cllr Brendan Young said that overall a lot of the burden was falling on the lower paid households.