Newbridge man voices concern that Kildare County Council is under 'enormous strain'

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Newbridge man voices concern that Kildare County Council is under 'enormous strain'
20:51 Tuesday 19th of March 2019

Newbridge Local Election Candidate Chris Pender says that the lack of staff at Kildare County Council is putting 'enormous strain' on the ability to maintain  normal daily services.

Mr Pender said: "A key issue is that Kildare Co. Council has the second lowest number of Council staff per head of population of all the Councils in Ireland.  Only Meath fares worse."

He said: "The lack of staff has put enormous strain on the Council’s ability to maintain everyday services. In some cases it has led to these services being contracted out to private firms – and only then if the Council can find companies who wish to take on such work."

Mr  Pender said: "A significant part of the reason behind this is that Kildare residents are not being treated fairly under current Local Property Tax arrangements."

He said: "When the tax was introduced we were supposed to all benefit from extra local Council services. This simply hasn’t happened. Instead we have a very unfair system that discriminates against Kildare residents."

Mr Pender said: "Revenue collects about €22 million in Local Property Tax from local residents in Kildare. This goes into a central fund and is then allocated back to local authorities around the country. However, Kildare loses about €4 million in this process. The money is given out on the basis of a very old allocation system. Little or no account is taken of population increases or staffing levels - so Councils with historically low staff numbers but high population growth, such as Kildare, really struggle."

He said: "A review of what each Council gets under the allocation system has been underway since last year. My Party, the Social Democrats, are insisting that this blatant unfairness at the heart of how local taxes are allocated should be corrected as part of this review. Basically, Kildare Co. Council should get to keep far more of the funding that is collected here."

Mr Pender said: "The current allocation system is grossly unfair on Kildare residents who are paying high Local Property Tax rates compared to the rest of the country but not getting the Council staff and services to match."

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