A WIDE range of services is facing the chop because of a €3m hole that has opened in the funding of Waterford City and County Council.
The council’s chief executive officer, Michael Walsh, has warned that this “serious issue” will “inevitably have a profound affect on this year’s budgetary process”.
An emergency meeting of the council was called last week to discuss the €3.3m shortfall, caused by a change in rates paid on assets owned by Irish Water.
A cross-party delegation is to meet Government ministers to seek a resolution. Some councillors want the Government to use taxpayers’ money to plug the gap.
Waterford Council cannot be expected to do the Government’s dirty work
Sinn Féin’s Conor McGuinness said: “Waterford Council cannot be expected to do the Government’s dirty work in imposing a €3.3 million cut to Waterford City and County Council’s budget.”
His party colleague, Waterford TD David Cullinane, said he would be meeting Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy on Thursday and would deliver a stark message that the shortfall will result in job losses and painful cuts to services
The problem is not unique to Waterford. Seven other councils are affected but proportionately Waterford City and County Council is the worst-hit .
The problem has arisen as a result of changes to how commercial rates on Irish Water infrastructure are calculated.
From next year, Irish Water, like other public utilities, will be liable for commercial rates calculated on the basis of population rather than where the actual properites are located.
That means some local authorities will get more money while others are facing significant shortfalls.