Businesses paying commercial water rates in Cashel will be faced with a 5% increase next year but all other charges, including rates, burial charges and parking fees, remain unchanged.
The Town Council’s annual Budget was passed unanimously by the Mayor, Cllr. Maribel Wood and members when they met on Monday night.
Council Manager Sean Keating explained that they had budgeted for a 5% decrease in the allocation from central government but had since learned that this decrease amounted to 9%, and that shortfall demonstrated the scale of the challenge facing the Council to provide a good level of service to the people of the town, as well as maintaining current levels of employment.
The amended Draft Budget amounted to expenditure of €2,552,549, a decrease of more than €230,000 from last year.
The further decrease of more than €21,000 in the government’s allocation would have to be met by cutting expenditure instead of trying to raise additional income.
Mr. Keating said there was no proposed increase in commercial rates or parking charges. It was intended to reduce the amount allocated for the maintenance of burial grounds by €14,500, based on the estimated future cost of extending the graveyard; and €1,000 would be taken from the sum allocated for local road improvement works.
It was also proposed to raise extra income of €6,000 by raising the commercial water rate.
Due to impending staff retirements in the motor taxation section of the County Council, combined with minimal staffing levels, it was proposed to decrease the opening hours of the motor taxation offices in Clonmel and Cashel. From January 16 the office in Cashel will be open from 9.05am-1.30pm from Monday to Friday, arrangements that he said were preferable to closing either office.
Town Clerk Marie McGivern said the Budget would enable the Council to provide a reasonable level of service while supporting cultural and social projects such as the Arts Festival, the Christmas lights and the Tidy Towns committee.
Mayor Maribel Wood said it had been a very hard year for everyone but Cashel had done very well. While 2012 would be another difficult year she was optimistic that it would be as good if not better than this year.
The adoption of the Budget was proposed by Cllr. Sean McCarthy. He said the reduction of over €230,000 in the government’s allocation was a huge shortfall in what were difficult and challenging times. He congratulated the Manager for his strenuous and persistent efforts to maintain the motor tax office in the town, adding that people didn’t realise how close they came to losing it.
Seconding the proposal to adopt the Budget, Cllr. Joe Moloney said they couldn’t complain about the Budget. With the times that were in it the Manager and staff had done a great job under the circumstances.
While he supported the Budget Cllr. PJ Quinlan was disappointed with the “huge increase” of 5% in the commercial water rates, which he said would hit the local tourist industry.
Cllr. Eddie Bennett was disappointed that the waiver scheme would be discontinued next year under the new arrangement for refuse collection but they had to face reality.
Cllr. Eoghan Lawrence was also disappointed with the 5% increase in the commercial water rates. But they had a massive reduction in their allocation from government in the last few years. Despite that shortfall the town had never looked so well and it was open for business.
It was an achievement to hold so many of the rates and charges at existing levels in these recessionary times and the outlook for Cashel was positive, said Cllr. Dan Dillon.