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Latest press release from Cllr Mags Crean, issued on Tuesday, November 19th 2019…
Cllr. Mags Crean (Ind) has expressed disappointment with the Wicklow County Council draft budget for 2020. She argues that the draft budget is proof that the increase in local property tax could have been avoided as it contains evidence of alternative sources of income whilst it also suggests that savings were made through identified expenditure lines.
Crean states, “There are welcome aspects to the budget like the climate action officer post and the plan to introduce a separate rates incentive scheme next year for new businesses.
“However, as much as I commend the management on balancing the budget, I am disappointed that they suggested an increase in local property tax (LPT) given the substantial increases in other income sources, such as an extra 3 million from rental income and an extra 4 million in commercial rates.
“Instead, these income stream increases are now being used to offset losses in income following the rating of Irish Water as well as funding an increase of 1.6 million for pay and pension costs. Pay and pensions should be coming from central Government funding.
“Equally, this draft budget raises other questions for me such as the issue of matched funding for projects. The use of development contributions applies for some of these projects. I would like to know the rationale for which projects are prioritised from contributions and why others were reliant on increasing LPT or faced being shelved. Greystones has seen so much development but very little by way of social infrastructure. I would argue that projects for Greystones should certainly be met from development contributions and not made dependent on an increase in LPT”.
For Crean, it is not enough to give out about these issues on the one hand but then put the financial burden onto people through increased LPT, which is why she voted against increasing the LPT. “My role as an elected councillor is to listen to the people that voted me into local government and to provide oversight and direction on function and policy. The public submissions received by WCC argued against an increase in LPT and the majority of people contacting me were also against a rise in LPT to balance the budget.
“The income and expenditure detailed in the draft budget affirms for me that we could have respected this democratic input from our constituents and that this budget could have been balanced without increasing LPT”.