Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Local Government Rates and Other Matters Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages
I wonder how a situation such as that outlined in section 6 might arise. How would it work in reality? When the manager of the local authority brings forward his estimates for the end of the financial year or the year going forward and the councillors debate the estimates or the budget and decide to increase or reduce the rate by a certain amount, would the direction be given at that stage? How does the Minister of State see this mechanism for the power to limit the annual rate on valuation working? I do not really understand how it would work in practice. It seems the manager would have the power at the end of the day. From reading the section, if the councillors were to adopt a rate that the manager was not happy with, he could override their decision and amend the rate with a direction and his word would be the last word. Is it the case that we are giving more power to the manager? While it is a reserved function of councillors to set the estimates and so on, section 6(5)(c) of the Bill states "which amendment the chief executive is hereby authorised to make". It seems to me that the Minister of State is giving ultimate power to the local authority manager to override a decision made by the councillors.