YOU won’t miss us ‘til we’re gone was the view of Mountmellick Town Councllors at their final budget meeting where €50k was approved to soften the blow of abolition.
“A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work the Town Council did,” claimed Cllr Michael Gormley. He’s been a member since 1985.
Cllr Bobby Delaney: “Six Councillors will now have to represent an area from Killeagh to Cullohill.”
Cllr Stephen Lynch: “An area the size of County Louth.”
Chairman Cllr Paddy Bracken: “It’s sad to say that this is our last budget meeting as a Town Council.”
He stressed the importance of the Council’s €1,600 allocation for school meals and hoped the service would continue as a time when there was such a demand for it. Expressing his sorrow, he referred to the death earlier in the year of their colleague Cllr Pat Bowe.
Cllr Gormley: “It’s a very sad night--our last estimates meeting. I will be asking Laois Co Councillors to ensure that we (Mountmellick) get the same amount of funding.”
Cllr Denis O’Mara: “We probably did not stand up and fight hard enough to be left alone. We are coming to a sad end.”
Cllr Rosemary Whelan: “We really know how to get value for money. The town will be at a loss.”
Cllr Ollie Payne believed that the abolition of the Town Council was going to lead to the end of “interaction” with officials. He added: “It’s unbelieveable.”
Cllr Bobby Delaney accused the Municipal Authorities Association--the umbrella body for Town Councils--of having failed to fight enough for their retention.
Cllr Lisa Delaney: “I’m just sorry I did not have as many years (on TC) as the rest of you.”
Cllr Bobby Delaney said a referendum should have been held to enable residents of all towns to vote whether or not they wanted to retain or establish Town Councils.
Cllr Gormely accused Environment Minister Phil Hogan of having “hid behind doors” on the issue.
The budget, as presented by Deputy Co Manager Ian McCormack and Town Clerk Pamela Tynan, was adopted unanimously, proposed by Cllr O’Mara, seconded by Cllr Gormley.
It makes provision for total expenditure of €80,084 in 2014, a rise of €25,903 over the current year.
The main reason for the increase is the inclusion of €50,740 was to pay gratuties to members when the Council is abolished next May.
In contrast, because of that abolition, members expenses and representational payments have been respecively cut by €4,345 and €10, 237. The Chairman’s allowance has dropped by €700.
In his estimates report, Deputy Co Manager Ian McCormack noted:
“The 2014 annual budget for Mountmellick TC comes at a time of enormous change in local government.”