Sunday Times article on Discretionary funding in Meath County Council
Local Property Tax (LPT) is a local charge.
Councillors are local representatives.
A mechanism was needed to ensure that LPT was distributed locally. “Putting People First... The reform of local government gave local representatives more responsibility and more devolved local powers.
Without funding these new responsibilities and powers were meaningless.
The Councillor discretionary fund of €12k per Councillor was based on historical funding mechanisms previously used in Local Authorities to ensure that local knowledge drives funding towards the right funding targets provided by local representatives.
These targets should have but have not been funded traditionally by the previous council arrangements.
Meath with the lowest local government funding (LGF)per capita under successive Fianna Fail Governments has lost out.
The new council elected in 2014 and led by Fine Gael with support from the independent Technical Group wanted to ensure that any gain in funding through the introduction of LPT was not swallowed up in county budgets but instead spent locally as the charge was levied.
2015 was the first year of transition from the old system to the new arrangement and in any transition a learning curve is needed.
Fine Gael have noted how Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein who
1. could not/ would not support county budget
2. could/did spend discretionary funding
3. can't / won't understand the main principle that this funding ,while described as councillor discretionary funding is really LPT funding spent locally by local representatives on local projects based on local knowledge and not a personal slush fund to promote General Election campaigns e.g Meath chronicle article on Fianna Fail Candidate "sponsoring" Meath Rose while in fact he was using LPT funding. Sponsorship means opening your own wallet and not using LPT funds to promote yourself