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Tourism, arts, street cleaning face cuts in Letterkenny

BY C.J.MCGINLEY

TOURISM, the arts and street cleaning are being targeted for financial cuts as Letterkenny Town Council grapples to strike a balance between maintaining vital front line services against swingeing government cutbacks.

Members of the Town Council will meet on Thursday (7pm) for their 2013 Budget Meeting which has been described by the County Manager, Mr Seamus Neely as ‘extremely difficult having regard to the current economic climate and the limitations on state finances.

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The Council will have a Revenue Budget of €7.79million next year and is trying to ensure front line services are maintained to a high standard, but is steering clear of imposing any further financial burden on hard pressed commercial ratepayers. For this reason there will be no hike on rates for 2013 in Letterkenny.

Indeed, such has been the level of buoyancy in the local business sector, the town council is planning to take in an extra €200,000 in 2013 from new shops and businesses that have been established recently in the town.

“ The Council is conscious of the difficult times that the business community are experiencing at present. The ratepayers represent a significant amount of the Council’s income (57 per cent or €4.3million) , therefore it is essential that budgetary decisions do not undermine competitiveness and include initiatives that complement business activity locally,” Mr Neely said.

“The Budget is framed in this context, ensuring that front line services are maintained to the highest standard, fiscal prudence being exercised in expenditure together with the continuation of the retail and marketing funds to promote Letterkenny as the premier retail and destination town in the North West,” he added.

Against this backdrop the council plans to cut its promotion of tourism by €54,000, the operation of street cleaning by (€59,000) the arts programme (over €9,0000) and Museum Operations (€23,000).

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