Friday, January 14, 2022

Councillors in Mayo are to meet at the end of February to discuss the Local Government Auditors Report for the year ending 31st December 2020 with councillors raising a number of issues in the wake of the Report.

While the Report found the Council returned a modest surplus of €193,882 in a very challenging amidst the difficulties brought on by the global pandemic and the commencement of Brexit measures, some councillors had concerns over some issues raised by the auditor.

Cllr Peter Flynn questioned why the provider was awarded a tenancy agreement at the Leisure Complex at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar without a competitive tender process. Furthermore, he questioned why the Complex was costing the taxpayer so much compared to a similar facility in Westport. The audit found that the Council has paid the provider a total of €997,000 from April 2019 until July 2021, with a minimum additional payment of €160,000 until December 2021 without a competitive tender.

Cllr Flynn also expressed concern over a sum in dispute between Irish Water (IW) and Mayo County Council relating to the recoverability of the overhead charges on sums invoiced by Mayo Co Co to IW.

According to the audit, Mayo County Council have invoiced IW €638K since 2018, including €228k in 2020 which IW are disputing as monies due. The Council are seeking to resolve this matter with IW under the dispute resolution provisions of the SLA. Cllr Flynn said he does not wish to see any additional charges put on taxpayers as a result of this.

Cllr Michael Burke raised concerns about commitments the Council has made to financially support different projects and the long term viability of projects.

“Unless we take ahold of this situation, it is going to cost us and the ratespayers a lot of money. I don’t mind bridging the gap for maybe two or three years but the long term viability of a project must hold up at all times.”

Head of Finance with Mayo Co Co Peter Duggan said the auditor has concluded his findings and has issued a clean audit report.

It was agreed to discuss these issues further at a special meeting at the end of February.

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