Ballina Town Council has resolved to reduce the rate for 2011 by 2.1 per cent. It means the town's annual rate on valuation now stands at 64.52 (down from 65.90) and is at a lower level than in was in 2007. Town manager Paddy Mahon had recommended keeping the rate at the same level as last year so as not to put the town council
in a position it would regret in years to come.
But after the members had originally proposed a reduction in rates of 2.59 per cent, agreement was eventually reached on the 2.1 per cent cut.
"You drive a hard bargain, but I believe you when you say it's for the good of the town in the long-term," said Mr. Mahon at the end of a lengthy annual budget meeting last Thursday in the council chamber.
In his budget report, the manager had indicated a grant of €1,399,212 in respect of the Local Government Fund, a decrease of 6.5 per cent or €97,871 on the amount notified at the time of the 2010 budget.
The grant had reached an all-time high of €1,793,779 in 2008.
The annual State grant for urban road improvement is expected to be €160,000 – down from a high of €287,000 in 2008.
The expected sum of all Government grants in 2011 is estimated at €1,561,562. In the peak year of 2008, the town council received Government grants in the sum of €2,082,597.
However, the funding shortfall is partially offset by the €205,000 expected in 2011 from the Non-Principal Private Residence Grant, Mr. Mahon reported.
Municipal rates, meanwhile, account for approximately 45 per cent of the council's overall income, after provision for bad debts. It is the next main source of income for the council after State grants.
In his comments to members at the meeting, Mr. Mahon said there is public and private sector investment in the town thanks to the council's setting aside of money that it was willing to spend when it was needed. "I urge you to continue in that spirit had keep faith in Ballina," he said.
When agreement was reached on the 2.1 per cent rate reduction, the members agreed that a good message had been sent out to the town's ratepayers and that plans to build for the future would continue but at a different pace.