Over half of Mountmellick Town Council’s budget, adopted last Thursday night, will go towards remunerating its nine councillors but the politicians want to stop money going to a national body that represents ther views.
In all, between “representational payments” and expenses, they will receive €28,071. In addition, the Chairman gets an €1,400 allowance.
The total budget for 2013 is an estimated €54,181 euros, a drop of €1,759 on the current year.
Savings were achieved by shaving money from printing, stationary, advertisements, office expenses, insurances, the audit fee, the Municipal Aurthorities’ Association, environmental works and informational technology.
AT their meeting the councillors the Mnicipal Authorities’ Association casah should saty local.
Cllr Bobby Delaney proposed that the €3,500 earmarked as the TC’s contribution to the Association should be retained and spent in Mountmellick. Cllr Rosemary Whelan seconded.
But Cllr Paddy Bracken took a contrary view. He proposed that the budget should be adopted as presented. Cllr Michael Gormley seconded.
This proposal was adopted on a six/three vote, with Cllrs Delaney, Whelan and Ollie Payne voting against.
Cllr Gormley expressed disappointed about the Municipal Authorities’ Association “lack of lobbying” to retain Town Councils, of which it was the representative body.
Cllrs Bracken and Stephen Lynch, Mountmellick’s delegates to the Association, disagreed with Cllr Gormley.
Cllr Delaney believed the Association no longer had a function now that Town Councils were to be disbanded. Why pay money to it? he asked.
Cllr Whelan: “We could invest the money and put it back into the town.”
Cllr Marc Connolly: “The Association as a representative body no longer have a function. They have achieved a lot over the years. That day is gone, I’m afraid.”
Chairman Cllr Pat Bowe urged caution on the issue and advocated the TC’s continuining membership of the Associaton. He added: “If we do not adopt the budget the consequences could be severe.”
Cllr Whelan wondered why was the buget put before Councillors at all if they had no say in it.
Cllr Connolly: “We can suggest that the Minister buy a rubber stamp and save us from coming in here.”
Cllr Bracken: “We might as well wipe the slate clean now--shut up the shop and not wait ‘til 2014 (when Town Councils are to be abolished).”
Cllr Whelan: “We don’t want to shut up shop. God Almighty, Paddy, what’s wrong with you tonight?”
Cllr Bracken: “There’ nothing wrong with me.”
Cllr Payne thought it wasn’t democrary if Councillors couldn’t change the budget.
Deputy Co Manager Ian McCormack: “If there are queries we will have to try and address them. We did cut it (contribution to Municipal Authorities’ Association) by €400. We have done our best. We have weighted it (budget) the right way, I think.”
Cllr Connolly congratulated Fine Gael Councillors for “standing up” to Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
Cllr Delaney accused Chairman Bowe of `”trying to push the budget through.”
Cllr Bracken: “Cllr Delaney is blowing about the town.”
Cllr Delaney: “Withdraw that remark. There’s no blowing out of me.”