Fermanagh Council spent nearly £4m less than planned

FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council has almost £4 million in reserve despite constant rate hikes and some underwhelming public services lately.

During the recent monthly meeting of the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, it was revealed that the total net operating expenditure was £39.4m against a planned budget of £43.3m for 2023-24.

Councillor Mark Ovens said that such an outcome would have ordinarily been welcome had the Council kept any increase in rates to a minimum and maintained a good delivery of services such as emptying bins, but according to the UUP representative, neither happened last year.


“The vast majority of money spent by Fermanagh and Omagh Council comes through the collection of rates from local households and businesses. It’s essential therefore that every single penny spent is done wisely and in the most effective way possible,” the Erne West Councillor said.

“Unfortunately, as a member of the Council, there have been various instances now when I felt the Council wasn’t operating in an open or transparent manner at all. Key information hasn’t been provided to elected Councillors, and even when material is requested or options called for, it still isn’t forthcoming.

“Throughout 2023-24 I repeatedly raised with senior management the fact that the Council was on a trajectory for a significant underspend. In the end, the variance of what it had planned to spend compared to what it did spend was +£3,918,300, or nine per cent of the Council’s entire budget for the year.”

Mr Ovens also confirmed this was the second year in a row in which the Council has ended up in such a position, as the year before it had a variance of almost £2.7m. When setting a further 4.72 per cent rate hike this year, the Council didn’t take the likelihood of an underspend into account.

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