Council to fight its corner over funding

Story by Ann Casey

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018 3:09pm

Council to fight its  corner over funding

The abysmal level of funding Meath receives from the Government will be highlighted in a submission to the Department of Local Government.

Meath spends just 45 per cent of what other counties spend on housing and building, 48 per cent on recreation and amentiies and just 43 per cent on environmental protection, according to figures revealed at a meeting of the Council on Monday.
Meath  is very firmly at the bottom of the heap when it comes to local authority funding and a submission has been drawn up by officials to make their case to the Local Government Funding Review.
The draft submission shows the Council spent €537 per person in the county in 2017, compared to the national average of €875 per capita.
“If Meath was able to spend the national average on our population, we would spending an additional €65 million a year,” Cllr Gerry O'Connor pointed out at a meeting of the council on Monday.
Cllr Sean Drew pointed out that expenditure per person for three of the Council's eight service divisions is now less than 50 per cent of the national average in 2017 and less was spent per per capita across
all eight service divisions.
Director of Finance, Fiona Lawless, told the meeting the submission was in response to the Department’s invitation to submit views on the factors and indicators that should inform the Local Government calculation and allocation of Local Government funding.
She said it was the third submission on funding the Council will have made and the Council has always maintained that it was allocated a disproportionately low base line funding relative to its needs and local resources.  
“Our spending person is only 61 per cent of the national average.”
She pointed out that the county collects €17.5million in local property tax but only receives €14million of that. “If we could at least get what we collected,” she said.
Cllr Paddy Meade said the draft submission was a tough read. “We are fighting over crumbs,” he said.   
Cllr Sinead Burke said that most of this had been said before but “We now need the government and the government TDs to hear this very loudly,” she said.