Waterford City & County Council has received €700,000 in funding from the Department of the Environment, in the wake of the €1.1 million ‘hole’ that appeared in the Council’s budget following the unanticipated telecoms revaluation.
While the funding will be welcomed at City Hall, the Council still faces an unexpected shortfall of €434,000 which it shall have to factor into its planning as it attempts to strike a budget for 2016 at this Thursday’s Statutory meeting.
According to Minister of State Paudie Coffey: “These valuations occur every few years and this year this has led to a funding shortfall across every local authority. I have worked with my Ministerial colleagues Minister (Alan) Kelly and Minister (Brendan) Howlin to ensure that this funding shortfall is mitigated as much as possible.”
The Minister added: “The fact that 70 per cent of this funding shortfall has been found will mean that essential local services will be protected next year.
“It is a sign of the economic recovery that these finances can be found and directed to local government and I will continue to work at national level ensuring that Waterford is not left with budgetary gaps that would impact negatively on people’s lives.”
News broke of the funding announcement just over a week after City & County Councillors had unanimously agreed a motion at the November plenary meeting to seek emergency funding from central government to ensure a balanced budget following the re-evaluation bombshell.
With respect to the still existing funding gap facing the local authority, this newspaper sought further comment from City & County Council CEO Michael Walsh before we went to press, but he was unavailable.