New local authority finances website launched by Galway researchers

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Galway daily news Review promised of Galway County Council funding

Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway have launched the 2022 edition of the local authority finances website this week.

Compiled by economics lecturers Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena, the 2022 local authority budgeted income and expenditure data are available on the online platform localauthorityfinances.com.

Aimed at improving the transparency and accountability of local authorities, visitors to the interactive website can discover the different sources of local council funding, from commercial rates, residential property tax, charges and fees, and central government grants.

Users can also see the services provided by the 31 local authorities, including, for example, spending on social housing, local and regional roads, fire and library services, and public parks and amenities.

They can then view the income and spending of their own local council, or they can compare to other local councils.

“Local authorities plan to spend over €6 billion in 2022. To date, this is the largest day-to-day spending by the local government sector in Ireland,” said Dr Gerard Turley.

“During the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, higher levels of council spending have been supported by central government grants, in the form of increased specific-purpose transfers but also compensation payments for loss of income from rates and charges adversely affected by government restrictions.

“The website allows citizens to see how this six billion euro of taxpayers’ money is spent locally.”

He said that a goal of any university is to contribute to place and to wider society.

“As NUI Galway’s mission is for the public good, this project is aimed at promoting more informed public policy choices and decisions, by making local authority budgets easier for voters and citizens to access and understand.”

Some of the highlights from the 2022 data include Dublin City Council’s revenue budget exceeding €1.1 billion, and expenditure per person varying from €794 for Kildare County Council to €2,038 for Dublin City Council.

To find out more about your local authority’s budget for 2022, visit localauthorityfinances.com.