Councillors’ travel fund slashed by half
By Laura Lyne
FUNDS of €44,000 that were previously allocated to South Dublin County councillors to travel abroad are to be put towards the Disabled Person’s Grant in the 2016 budget of South Dublin County Council.
It will see the grant increase to over €300,000 in 2016 and will help fund housing adaptations for disabled persons across the county.
The motion for the re-allocation of half of the funds for councillors travelling to conferences abroad was tabled by Sinn Féin Mayor Sarah Holland with the support of the council alliance.
A re-allocation of the remaining €44,000 in funds for travel will see the establishment of a new home security scheme for the elderly residents of South Dublin County.
The budget was adapted at the council’s annual budget meeting last Thursday, November 5.
It was met by opposition by People Before Profit (PBP) councillors Gino Kenny, Ruth Nolan and Nicky Coules.
They said: “The main reason for opposing this budget and previous budgets has been the inclusion of the (LPT) Local Property Tax. The LPT equates to six per cent of the budget.
“The property tax is a regressive tax on the family home and is an austerity tax on working people. PBP along with many others fought a long campaign against the introduction of the LPT.
“It’s on this count that we feel that this budget is been compromised and tainted by this unfair tax.”
Businesses across the county will also see further supports as part of the 2016 budget, including €150,000 toward smart city region and energy innovation, training programmes for businesses, and revised structure and support of €30,000 for the county enterprise strategy.
A roundabout sponsorship scheme will also be launched with plans to enhance and landscape roundabouts across the county with the help of private sponsorship – the first sponsorship will come from The Square, Tallaght which is to sponsor two roundabouts.
During the meeting, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, Daniel McLoughlin, said: “The Council’s Revenue Budget will involve expenditure in the region of €225.45 million for the year ahead which represents an increase of €6 million on last year’s budget.
“Housing supply, economic development, including tourism and aesthetics, enhanced service delivery, community development and business support are central to the achievement of these objectives, as are health and wellbeing, social inclusion and supporting the less well-off.
“All of these principles are supported through the financial provisions in this budget.”
Speaking about the passing of the council budget, Mayor Holland said: “The Progressive Alliance worked very well with the management team to deliver this fair, prudent and socially responsible budget.
“We have increased spending in key areas such as housing and business support and every citizen across this county will feel the benefit. We aim to make South Dublin County the best place in Ireland to live, work and do business, and this budget reflects that.”