Council reports £3.7 million budget surplus

LOCAL councillors have been effectively censored from commenting publicly after figures were disclosed on the authority’s current financial position, as well as learning significant sums have been loaned out to two other councils.
During the recent Policy and Resources Committee meeting, members heard by 31 December 2020 the council ran a budget surplus of £3.7 million and had reserves including a combined total of £6 million loaned out to other councils – something which appeared wasn’t widely known in the chamber.
While several members welcomed the positive impact the “healthy” financial position should have for ratepayers, none spoke to press, having been contacted by officials the day after the meeting and advised against commenting.
Director of Corporate Services and Governance Celine McCartan said management accounts for the third quarter of the financial year, show a surplus, largely from an additional £779,000 in funding from the furlough scheme, along with exceptional government funding of just over £2 million.
She explained the surplus will be set aside this year to help with costs and loss of income due to the impact of Covid on rates in the future.
Detailed analysis is underway around the imminent rates estimates process for the 2021/22 year.
Independent member Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh, pictured below left, felt the figures presented weren’t what was expected in the current climate indicating, “At least a £3.7 million surplus, which is almost £1.5 million more than we initially anticipated… We have more than £20 million in cash in various places… Am I to take it that our net capital holdings are now topping £15 million after having such a positive year in terms of surpluses?”
Ms. McCartan said it was important to look at profile expenditure which would exceed in the timeframe, largely because the Department for Communities general grant is received up-front, then worked through over the course of the year.
“It’s a positive position, but also very fluid,” she said. “We have actively pursued every avenue to get additional funding to mitigate against financial impacts of Covid.”


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