New Mid-Ulster Council unhappy with DSD budget

The new Mid Ulster Super-council met for the first time in Dungannon on Thursday night.
The new Mid Ulster Super-council met for the first time in Dungannon on Thursday night.

The new Mid-Ulster Council are to meet with Department for Social Development (DSD) Minister Nelson McCausland today, (Tuesday) to express their concerns at the proposed regeneration budget allocation.

During the monthly meeting of the new council who are acting in shadow form until next year, councillors expressed their concerns that half a million pounds had been cut from the original proposed budget.

Under the new review of public administration, the new council will take over the responsibilities from the DSD for local urban regeneration and community 

Chief Executive of the Mid-Ulster Council, Anthony Tohill informed members that the draft budget had indicated that the Mid Ulster District Council would receive an annual allocation of £3.467m.

However, the DSD Minister wrote again to Councils on June 18 to advise that the Budget Allocation Model had been revised to reflect comments made by Councils.

The new figure outlined that the proposed annual allocation for Mid Ulster District Council would now be £2.999m, a reduction 
of £0.468m.

Commenting on the proposed budget, Mr Tohill informed council members that a meeting had been arranged for today (Tuesday 1 July), so a delegation from the Mid Ulster Council could fully express their concerns.

Cllr Sean McPeake said he had “grave concerns” over the proposed budget allocations and that “robust discussions” need to be had with the Minister to address the 
Council’s concerns.

Sinn Fein Councillor Linda Dillon also expressed concerns over the apparent drop in budget allocations.

She said: “I have very serious concerns over this, particularly following on from a meeting I had earlier with members of Coalisland and Dungannon Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership. There are a number of very important developments planned for these areas and if money is being chopped from the budget I don’t know 
how it can work.”

Independent Councillor Barry Monteith added: “These could be the first of many cuts and we as a council body need to fight tooth an nail. Half a million pounds is a lot of money and we can’t just stand idly by and let it happen.”