MEA council has concerns over budget

Chief executive of the new Mid and East Antrim District Council, Ballymena CEO Anne Donaghy.

Chief executive of the new Mid and East Antrim District Council, Ballymena CEO Anne Donaghy.

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Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Council, Anne Donaghy, has written to DSD Minister Mervyn Storey to express her concern at the regeneration budget transferring to the new supercouncil for 2015/16.

Responding to a letter from Mr Storey, Mrs Donaghy wrote: “I am concerned that our allocation has been reduced by some 23.69 per cent compared with the indicative figure given in December 2013.

“Setting aside the significant challenges facing your department, I would raise concerns that this reduction is significantly greater than many of the other councils.

“By way of example, Lisburn and Castlereagh show a reduction of 10.21 per cent, and Belfast 13.21 per cent.”

According to the Northern Ireland Local Government Association, MEA Council stood to gain £4.609 million from the DSD urban regeneration budget transfer under the original consultation proposal.

This has been reduced to £3.517million.

Mrs Donaghy revealed she has arranged a meeting between the regional office and council staff to discuss the budget implications.

MEA Council has an overall budget of £45 million.

It has been given an “executive funding package” of £57,692 over the 2014-15 period to “wind up” the three predecessor councils of Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus.

A council report states that the package is for legal and audit requirements related to planning and implementing year end processes and the development of transfer schemes from predecessor councils .”