Painstaking discussion needed to balance Kerry County Council Budget

A lot of soul searching and painstaking discussion has been needed to balance Kerry County Council’s Budget for 2017.

That’s according to the council’s chief executive, Moira Murrell who’s been speaking during a discussion on the local authority’s financial plan for the next 12 months.
In September, councillors were told by Ms Murrell that there was a shortfall of 5.5 million euro for next year’s budget.
Today, Moira Murrell said she was presenting a balanced budget to councillors, but this was a difficult task to achieve; she added it is hugely important for the budget to support economic and tourism development while carrying out services.
Budget 2017 will see Kerry County Council spend almost 127 million euro and a further 61 million euro in capital projects; something Ms Murrell said will have a very serious impact on the lives of those living in Kerry.
Ms Murrell said the investment is targeted where the county needs to go and this is a different budget as along with core services the focus is on the growth of Kerry.
Head of Finance Angela McAllen said the budget was balanced by reducing overall expenditure by almost two million euro and increasing their projected income for the coming year.
As the harmonisation process continues commercial rates will generate 41.2 million euro for the council next year; the annual rate as agreed in 2015 continues to be 79.25 euro.
Over 31 million euro is earmarked for roads, 24 million on housing, 17 million on environmental services and 14 million on water services.
Over 63 million euro or 50 per cent of the council’s budget will be spent on paying staff wages and pensions and subsistence costs.
Discussions between council management and councillors on the draft budget is continuing.