Thursday, 24 January 2013

City Budget 2013

It is disappointing and unacceptable that the Lord Mayor of Dublin City is refusing to hold a special meeting of Dublin City Council to make a budget for the City for 2013. This is an attempt to conceal from the people of Dublin how their money will be spent in the City this year.

As leader of the Fianna Fail group on Dublin City Council and with support from Independent Councillors I made the request for a special meeting to the Lord Mayor in early January.

We requested a special meeting because the budget agreed by Councillors in November 2012, before the national budget was announced, is no longer valid. The City Council has an additional €2.2million to spend that had not been budgeted for. We believe Councillors and not Management should decide how the money is used. As a group we want to see the money used in the provision of services and to support local employment.

The City Budget has been further compromised by the Governments decision to apply their unfair Property Tax to Social Housing. The City Manager is still unable to provide a report to Councillors outlining the exact impact of the tax on the City’s budget. Initial estimates indicate that the impact could be between €3million and €6million per year.

Labour and Fine Gael Councillors opposed a Fianna Fail motion at City Council that called on the Government to abandon their unfair Property Tax, choosing instead to endorse their Governments unfair Property Tax. The property tax is anti-Dublin generally but as Dublin City Council is the largest Local Authority it will face the largest bill for Property Tax in the Country. It is shameful that the Lord Mayor and his Labour and Fine Gael colleagues, elected by their local communities, do not want to champion this critical issue for homeowners in Dublin.

In refusing the request for a special meeting, the Lord Mayor indicated that he intends to list the City Budget as an item on the agenda of the next meeting of the City Council. This is a wholly inadequate response. Monthly meetings of the City Council never complete the full agenda and to try and bury the City Estimates by squeezing it into an already packed agenda is unacceptable. This is a direct attempt to conceal from the people of Dublin how their money is being spent.

We want the best for Dublin City. We believe for the City to function properly and compete nationally and internationally the City Budget must be agreed as soon as possible. We want to deal with this issue promptly and responsibly and we have renewed our request for a special meeting of the City Council to be held as soon as the impact of the Property Tax is available.  Mary