On 6 November the Fianna Fail, Green, Labour and the Social Democrat controlled council passed a budget that will damage town centres and the environment.

• Rates are hiked by 3.5%
• Parking charges will go up by 50 cent per hour

Shockingly, the budget also scrapped all funding to the home retrofit programme, slashed the environmental awareness budget, cut funds for cycling infrastructure, provided no extra funds for street
recycling bins or street cleaning and cut the budgets to maintain our beaches.

It is particularly hard to believe that these measures were supported bythe Green Party!

Incredibly this year’s budget is €10 million less than it was in 2008! In 2008 €40 million came from central taxation. 10 years later the central government funding has all but disappeared and has been
replaced by €40 million from the Local Property Tax. This is a direct transfer of funding source from progressive taxation to, a regressive, out of pocket tax on family homes.

Now residents and business owners across the County are being made pay again.

People Before Profit was the only party to propose an alternative to this budget, but got no support from any of the parties including Fine Gael.

Our proposals included:
1. Reduce parking charges and introduce free parking hours to encourage footfall in towns and villages.
2. Reduce rates for small struggling businesses to be paid for through higher rates on multinationals
and hugely profitable chains and corporations.
3. Double the fund, at a minimum, for the retrofit program to reduce CO2 emissions and heating bills.
4. Increase funds for enviromental awareness and invest in on-street on-street recycling facilities.
5. Invest in cycling infrastructure, roads, and pavements programmes

These measures could be funded, in part, by cutting the €3.5 million that is set aside to refund rates to empty shops. It is outrageous that buildings like the Dunnes buildings on Northumberland Street
in Dún Laoghaire can lie empty for years and get their rates refunded every year. Each empty building should only be allowed avail of the rate rebate for one year. This would save the Council millions and also encourage new shops onto the streets of our towns.