County dwellers are the poor relations

Galway County Hall

The disparity in funding levels for Galway County and City Councils has been underlined in a new study carried out by researchers at NUI Galway.

While funding levels vary across departments and illustrate the differing areas of focus for both local authorities, the budgeted spend per person highlights a considerable gap between rural and urban dwellers.

In 2019, Galway City Council’s budgeted spend per person is €1,117, compared with Galway County Council’s €671 – meaning that Galway City’s population of 78,668 has a budget of €87.9 million, while their counterparts in the county, some 179,390 people, have a total budget of €120.4 million.

In a national context, this gives Galway County the second lowest spend per person in the country, while Galway City has the fifth-highest.

Research carried out by Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena at the Whitaker Institute at NUIG shows that across Ireland’s 31 local authorities shows a significant gap between rural and urban Councils nationally.

According to Dr Turley, this can be explained by each local authority’s fiscal capacity – their ability to generate income through taxation and commercial rates; and the level of economic activity within their jurisdiction.

“With Galway County Council, it is much less densely populated and has to rely on much less in Local Property Tax, but it still has to deliver services,” said Dr Turley.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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