Gorey councilors question allocation fairness in County Wexford’s draft budget plan

Councilors have questioned the fairness of the allocations given to each district as Wexford County Council’s chief financial officer, Annette O’Neill presented the draft budget plan at the October meeting.

According to the plans, Gorey will receive €455,000, followed by Wexford with €400,000, Enniscorthy with €358,000, New Ross with €333,000 and Rosslare with €252,000. Ms O’Neill explained that an extra €50,000 from local property tax would be added to the figure.

Cllr Joe Sullivan questioned the fairness of the allocations, noting that other districts received more per councilor than Gorey.

“I feel like, again, Gorey is being left behind shall we say. If the numbers were calculated against LPT income, he probably tops any other district,” he added. “I know we get €50,000 but ‘It’s neither here nor there. Is it fair? Not in my book.”

“We’ve always been disproportionately represented financially here,” Councilman Anthony Donohoe said. “It’s the same every year and it doesn’t seem to change.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Cllr Mary Farrell.

“We have a large rural district and densely populated rural areas,” she said. “Every year we’re told ‘we’ll look into it and see what we can do’.

It’s time we stood up and said we’re not happy with the allocation.

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux said that with so many homes in North Wexford and the number of people contributing property tax, the allowances described seemed ‘totally unfair’ Cllr Andrew Donohoe said he agreed with others advisers on the distribution of funding.

Ms. O’Neill said Gorey received more than other districts in some areas, such as the community involvement program.

“I know we discuss it every year, but I don’t think we’ve agreed to come back to the board.”

President Cllr Donal Kenny noted that Gorey has ten councilors while the other districts only have six.

“I know you did your best, but sometimes when we add up the numbers, we don’t seem to get as much.”

Cllr Sullivan said he was ‘a little surprised’ to hear other advisers say they had been assured they would be ‘taken care of’ in this budget, saying he was not one of such conversations. His words were quickly challenged by his colleagues and the director of services Liz Hore, who explained that everything had been done in a transparent manner.

“It was pointed out that because the Gorey-Kilmuckridge District has ten members, it was felt that we needed to review and see how we could best allocate resources to reflect the population of that district. As you know, the doors of the General Manager, Finance Manager, Service Manager and District Manager are always open and that is how we deal with working with members. A number of members came in and reiterated that they would like to see the requirements of the district reflected in the budget and we said we would come back and see how we could better reflect the issues raised by the members of this district,” said said Liz. .

We don’t behave like this and make no secret deals, she added.

“It has been pointed out that there are two ridings in this riding and that is what makes it fundamentally different,” Ms. O’Neill said. “That’s all.”

Cllr Devereux asked if €5,000 of the budget could be used to teach people how to properly assess the value of their homes, doubting that there are many properties in the Gorey area valued at less than €300,000.

“We didn’t quite think so many properties would fall into the lowest band,” said Ms O’Neill, who said Revenue is responsible for overseeing how people value their property. .

Councilors agreed that the undervaluation of property was a ‘national problem’ which could lead to people in difficulty in the future. Chairman Cllr Donal Kenny said it was worth people getting help with valuing their property because they could be penalized in the long run if they did it incorrectly. Cllr Donohoe said he thought it was important to highlight, not to bring in more money, but because people will “get a shock” in the future when they go to sell their property. Ms O’Neill and Ms Hore said the matter could be raised with Revenue.

James V. Hayes