Budget 2018 was passed by 20 votes to 19
MEMBERS of Limerick City and County Council have passed this year’s Budget by the tightest of margins.
Following a three-hour meeting at County Hall this Friday, the estimates for 2018 – which excluding the Housing Assistance Payment are worth €158m – were passed by 20 votes to 19.
The result has brought a split in the grand coalition of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael after both parties took differing views on whether to increase or freeze the commercial rate, a charge on businesses related to the size of their property.
The budget sees an increase in spend in housing and building, road transport and safety, water services, development management, environmental services, recreation and amenity – with just one sector experiencing a fall in spend: agriculture.
The commercial rate will increase by 1.75% next year, with the council executive hoping this will bring in almost €1m extra for county street cleaning, community, the library service and tourism development and promotion.
However, the increase in the rate was opposed by Fine Gael, who favoured a rates freeze.
Despite this, their coalition partners Fianna Fail were happy to adopt the rates increase proposed by council boss Conn Murray.
When the budget went to vote, Fianna Fail united with Labour’s two members, and Independent councillors John Gilligan, John Loftus, Frankie Daly, and Lisa-Marie Sheehy.
Fine Gael members voted to reject the budget on the basis of the rates increase. They were joined in their opposition by Sinn Fein’s five councillors and Solidarity’s two members who took issue with funding for housing in the budget.
For more, see Monday’s Limerick Leader.