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Councillor says more equity is needed in allocating a budget for Kilkenny City

"We'll have less money to spend in comparison to other parts of the county" claims Cllr David Fitzgerald

One Kilkenny councillor claims there needs to be more equity in how the local authority divides its budget across the county.

Under the draft budget for 2021, all four of Kilkenny’s Municipal Districts are set to be allocated a discretionary spend of €50,000 each.

However at their meeting yesterday (Friday) Cllr David Fitzgerald suggested that Kilkenny City Municipal District should be given a greater share than other areas, as they serve the largest population.

He fears his district will be disproportionately impacted by the allocation;

“The allocation of money is normally done on an equal basis per head of population and the current four-way split doesn’t reflect the fact that there’s a significantly higher population in the city so effectively the city allocation is significantly less than the allocations to other areas because of that. So what it means is basically we’ll have less money to spend in comparison to other parts of the county” he told KCLR News.

The Fine Gael councillor says the issue is significant, as he believes it could put those living and paying their taxes in the city at a disadvantage. “We have to make sure that the spend per head of population is equal throughout the county and some municipal districts, in particular the Piltown district, is getting a larger allocation in preference to the city even though they have a lower population so I think it’s important that we try and get equity in the system because at the end of the day the local property tax is collected equally across the county and I think everybody needs to see that they get fair play from their local authority when it comes to spending of that money” he explained.

However, when Cllr Fitzgerald and Cllr Maria Dollard raised the issue at yesterday’s meeting, they were told it was too late for the recommendation to be considered for the 2021 budget. Head of Finance Martin Prendiville pointed out that the other Municipal Districts had already agreed to the even-split and subsequent €50,000 allocation at their own meetings on the draft budget. He said the time to raise such concerns was at the council’s budget workshop which took place last month. Mr Prendiville said, however, that it could be considered for 2022.

Cllr Fitzgerald says it’s unfortunate that the allocation for this year won’t be changed; “A huge proportion of the rates that are collected in the county are collected in the city area and that money is used to fund services all over the county, so we would hope in the city that the split of that money would be done on an equal pro-rata basis and unfortunately under this budget it’s not going to be.”