Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Bray Town Councillors vote for Water Charges and Rent Increases in Budget

Bray Sinn Féin Councillors John Brady and Rossa Murray have cristised their fellow Councillors for eagerly supporting the town council budget for 2014. The Budget sees €1.48 Million of locally collected Property Tax money been diverted away from providing local services and handed to Irish Water to install water meters to start charging for water. The budget also increased to minimum rent for council tenants by 25% and introduced a gas boiler levy. 

Speaking after Tuesdays council meeting Councillor Brady said "The people of Bray did not give me or any other councillor a mandate to introduce water charges. The council budget that was introduced at Tuesdays council meeting does the dirty work for Phil Hogan and ensures that the process of forcing people to pay another stealth tax will begin after the local elections."

Brady continued "Myself and my party colleague Rossa Murray voted against the budget because we were asked to complete the lie that all property tax money would go to provide local services. The simple fact is the Bray budget has seen a reduction of €1.48million in the funding from the government out of the property tax money collected, this money was diverted away from providing the promised services to Irish Water so they can install water meters. The adopted budget doesn't provide for any new badly needed social housing units to address the housing crisis that exists."

Cllr Murray went onto say "Another reason why we voted against the budget was the decision to increase the minimum rent for council tenants by 25% and to introduce a levy on tenants to have their boilers serviced. This is the responsibility of the council and not all tenants will be levied weekly to have their boilers serviced annually, up onto now the council had carried this service out as the landlord. The decision by the councillors to increase council rents is a retrograde step that will hit some of the most vulnerable in our society the hardest and force more families into debt and arrears."

"Even though i did vote against the overall budget there was a positive element to it that i supported. That was the introduction of a grant to help sporting organisations in the town out. I had initially proposed the establishment of this fund at a previous meeting, it is designed to help the many excellent clubs out around the town, many of which are struggling to raise funding for insurance, registration and equipment. The fund of €80,000 will be open to all clubs to apply to draw money from to help give them a leg up and a lifeline. I welcome the fact that my proposal has been acted upon and supported." continued Brady

He concluded by saying "Unfortunately the negatives greatly outweigh the positives in the budget, that is why we voted against it. It was was carried 9 votes to 2, Sinn Féin being to only party to oppose it. The budget was the last ever of Bray Town Council as the council is to be abolished in May. The councillors had an ideal opportunity to send Phil Hogan and the government a message that his austerity budget is not welcome nor supported by the people. The budget vote was a vote for the transfer of a priceless asset which is water which belongs to the people of this country to Irish Water, and in turn it plans to put meters outside peoples homes using property tax money and charge them for the privilege of using this infrastructure. Sinn Féin could not and would not be part of any process that further screws the people of Bray." 

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