AN oversight in the accounting department at County Hall resulted in Portlaoise Town Council failing to pay rent for the building for the last three years.
The news came at the recent budget meeting, where it was revealed that in 2012 Portlaoise Town Council just exceeded their proposed budget of €89,275 with an expenditure of €91,635. Of the expected costs for the year, the council’s contribution to AMAI exceeded the proposed €3,750 to €4,100, while €81 more was spent on office expenses than expected, €200 more on school wardens and €250 more on integration in schools.
The only areas where the council underspent last year was in their audit (€1,700 allocated, €1,630 spent) and insurances (€1,800 allocated, €1,786 spent).
However, what really seemed to skew the figures was an oversight on the rent of County Hall. Michael Rainey of the housing department informed the meeting that, for some unknown reason, the rent on the building had failed to be paid for the last three years, which meant that three years’ rent of €1,981 which had not been allocated for in the 2012 budget had to be paid in one go.
Speaking after the meeting to the Leinster Express, Mr Rainey explained that Portlaoise Town Council’s rent payments are an historical agreement, with the money going toward heat, lighting and the upkeep of the premises. He pointed out that there are no utilities bills for the town council in the budget, with the rent acting as a contribution toward accommodation costs.
“I don’t know why it wasn’t paid, it must have been an accounting oversight,” he said. “The money was still in the account, it was provided for in the revenue but it hadn’t passed to Laois County Council.”