Sligo and Leitrim county councils considering budgets for next year

Sligo and Leitrim county councils have today begun considering their budgets for 2019.

Sligo is still emerging from what was once one of the most precarious of local authority financial situations in the country.

Its budget for next year is €65m.

Sligo County Council CEO Ciaran Hayes says the local authority’s finances are now under control, a process that involved major cost-cutting and job reductions.

But he points out the council still has the largest revenue account deficit in the country.

Because of this, he says it cannot afford to reverse progress or lose the gains made in recent years.

However, he expects a major boost to the local economy’s growth will be the number of major infrastructure projects expected to soon begin, creating hundreds of jobs in construction.

These include work on the N4, the Western Distributor Road, the O’Connell Street enhancement and the Eastern Garavogue Bridge.

This will be in addition to more than 1,200 jobs announced for Sligo this year.

However, Mr Hayes says the increased development will put additional pressures on council’s finances, with the result that there will be no scope for a surplus next year.

This means the council must put proposals to the department to help deliver on the government’s plan for Sligo as a regional growth centre . . . while at the same time reducing the revenue account deficit.

Meanwhile, Leitrim has a €66m capital programme for the next three years.

It’s expected both councils will complete their budget deliberations today.

And in Sligo, at least, it’s not proposed to increase commercial rates.