Councillors praise budget surplus

Praise for the council’s finance department rang round the council chamber, at last week’s Council meeting as Laois County Councillors welcomed the budget surplus.

Praise for the council’s finance department rang round the council chamber, at last week’s Council meeting as Laois County Councillors welcomed the budget surplus.

Cllr John Moran was the first to speak. He said it was a fabulous achievement by the council.

“It’s a fabulous achievement. The whole management team have done a fantastic job. We should be proud of the team. Some local authorities have huge gaps, I’d say Laois is one of only a few who have a surplus,” he said.

Cllr Alan Hand was equally as complimentary, but suggested more ways the council could save money in future years.

“In the area of public lighting we spend €1million, but I think there is savings to be made in this area. I would like to see pedestrian lights be solar powered - a great example is the lights in Ballydavis. There is also a number of housing estates that the council will be taking in charge in the coming years, we should be doing something to counteract the cost of that.”

But Cllr Hand said there was some good news stories from the from the annual financial statement.

“There is some good news stories in the fire service. Offaly County Council who have a similar size fire service have budget overruns, but we brought it in on budget,” he said.

He welcomed the €50,000 contingency fund which the council had transferred to the capital account, describing it as forward thinking.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly said it had been a very difficult couple of years. He thanked the general staff in finance for their work in preparing the financial statement. He said anyone he had brought into to meet with finance officials had been dealt with very professionally.

Cllr James Daly said the council’s secret ingredient was their ability to be able to draw funds and source funds.