Brighter forecast as council balances books

The forecast is much brighter for Roscommon County Council’s finances this week after Director of Services Martin Lydon announced that the local authority is set to balance its budget for 2020.

Mr. Lydon delivered his financial review for the year at Monday’s meeting of Roscommon County Council and it follows on from May’s much starker assessment, which highlighted a €5.9 million loss in rates and planning income due to Covid-19.

Mr. Lydon did however warn that while all County Council frontline services had been maintained this year, the Government has warned that supports would be more targeted in 2021.

He added that the local authority would work with Government to recoup some of the losses brought about by the pandemic.

Chief Executive, Eugene Cummins, said the Covid-19 pandemic had not found Roscommon County Council wanting.

“Little did I know last May that we would be sitting here looking at the end of the year in such a positive way,” he said and praised the “extraordinary support” the council had received from Government.

He added: “We can now approach 2021 in a positive way”.

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Laurence Fallon described the presentation as “extremely positive” compared with May’s report.

“We received very substantial funding from Government and if it wasn’t for that we would have been in dire straits. It kept us afloat.

“These are challenging times but our staff and our councillors have done their best in the circumstances. We have balanced the budget this year and the plan is for a balanced budget in 2021,” he said.

The financial report was warmly welcomed by other members of Roscommon County Council, with many acknowledging the efforts of the council’s indoor and outdoor staff in maintaining services throughout the year.