Tom Gilligan, financial director of services at Mayo County Council

Mayo County Council facing 'probably its most difficult ever budget' - finance director

THE 2021 budget will probably be the most difficult ever for Mayo County Council to adopt.

That''s the view of the authority's director of finance Tom Gilligan.

Elected members in the Ballina Municipal District were requested to consider the draft budgetary plan, including a General Municipal Allocation (GMA) – funding that is provided annually for voluntary and community groups that is totally at the discretion of elected councillors – of which €330,000 is for their district, a reduction of €90,000.

This proposal, which equates to €55,000 per member, has rejected outright.

In fact, Councillor Michael Loftus went so far as to tear up the proposal in front of them.

Councillor Michael Loftus

The Fianna Fáil representative said that the government is going to give a full allocation of rates to Mayo County Council.

So it is 'crazy' for them as councillors to even look at the document without having access to the full facts.

He also complained that Ballina MD is getting the lowest GMA even though it contributes most to council funds in car parking charges, and pointed out that rates and car parking charges had both been increased in the past year.

“It's absolute lunacy,” he stated.

Mr. Gilligan conceded that there was a nine-month waiver in relation to rates but stressed there was no indication or clarification about government support for 2021.

“I would be very, very concerned about next year,” he said.

“It will probably be the toughest year that we have ever had to adopt a budget and provide services.”

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