€30k for councillors retirement

One-third of the entire Portlaoise Town Council budget is to be set aside for council “gratuities.”

One-third of the entire Portlaoise Town Council budget is to be set aside for council “gratuities.”

Over €30,000 out of a budget of €102,000 has been set aside for members who are not elected or re-elected to Laois County Council next summer.

The money comes from Portlaoise Town Councils revenue and capital resources.

Many items on the council’s agenda are still being budgeted for over 12 months. This is despite the fact that Portlaoise Town Council will only be in existence for five months of 2014 when the new municipal districts will come into force following the local elections in May.

Once the Town Councils are disolved, the budget will be passed on to head of finance Gerry Murphy who will continue to look after it until December 31 next year.

Town Manager, Michael Rainey outlined the details to councillors last week.

“We are still waiting to hear what budgetary powers you will have,” Mr Rainey said.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said this was a huge problem.

“This is a huge problem. There is no follow through, we are very much in the dark,” she said.

Over €15,000 was set aside for the town councillors expenses for the first five months of the year.

This figure includes salaries of €6,902, mobile expenses which have increased from €900 for 2013 to €1,200 for five months.

The town manager explained that the Town Council would continue to provide the main financial support for the School Warden Scheme in Portlaoise.

There was €750 set aside for Civic Receptions, the same amount as last year, which was not spent.

The Council also set aside €2,000 to both the St Patrick’s Day parade commitee and the Christmas Lights.

There was also €4,725 for public conveniences.

The Council’s allocation of €30,200 funds 75% of the cost of the five school wardens employed by Laois County Council.

The total expenditure for the Town Council for next year is €102,822 with receipts of just €38,352.

“The deficit of €64,470 will be demanded from Laois County Council and raised on the town rate,” Mr Rainey said.