Laois County Council made savings of almost €2 million and reduced their staff by 130 between April 2011 and March 2012, according to the the council’s annual progress report.
The Corporate Plan 2009-2014 revealed that a maojor factor in the saving has been the significant reduction in staff numbers - 64 core staff were not replaced, 24 contract staff, 30 contract staff for short term cover and 12 further retirements are anticipated between 2012 and 2014.
The report listed further examples of where savings had been made such as the restructuring of the machinery yeard, the closure of area offices, restructuring water services, shared services with other agencies.
The council have also revised the flexitime scheme, standardised pay cycles, with all staff to be paid fortnightly. A centralised debt collection service was also established in the Finance Department.
According to the report, the Enforcement Team also continued their work ensuring that any breaces of planning law were investigated and followed up.
In 2012, the council attended court 25 times for enforcement prosecutions. They were successful in obtaining one injunction. The planning office served 29 enforcement notices, 61 warning letters and investigated 99 complaints.
Last year, the council leased the Tourism Office at Lyster Square from Failte Ireland and it is now open five days a week. The Rose of Tralee Regional Finals were secured for another three years and the Laois Garden Trail was launched. The Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Project is still in the pipeline and when completed, has the potential to attract up to 50,000 visitors to the area.
In his summary, County Manager, Peter Carey said he believed the council could be justifiably staisfied with the progress achieved in the implementation of the Corporate Plan 2009-2014.
“Laois County Council is constantly striving to achieve excellence in all areas. Given the commitment and dedication of its employees and the Elected Members and the co-operation of the Sectoral Partners, it is my belief that Laois County Council will continue to be viewed as a model of excellence in Local Government, nottwithstanding the difficult economic climate and the unprecedented challenges facing the council,” Mr Carey said.