The Local Government Act 2001 requires local authorities to prepare their annual budgets in a statutory format, which requires that budgeted expenditure must equal budgeted income. It is a matter for local authorities to manage their finances prudently and the elected members of a local authority have direct responsibility in law for all reserved functions of the authority, which includes adopting the annual budget, and are democratically accountable for all expenditure by the local authority. I understand that Offaly County Council has recently adopted its annual budget for 2020.
While local authorities should operate within a reasonably balanced revenue position, it is clear that from time to time there will be factors that will lead to surpluses or deficits arising in annual operations.
My Department works closely with all local authorities to ensure the local government sector as a whole and individual local authorities can meet existing and emerging challenges. However, all funding issues have to be considered within the parameters of the national fiscal and budgetary situation and competing priorities. In this context, Offaly County Council will benefit from the broader suite of measures envisaged under the Just Transition Process for the Midlands Region. My Department will keep the situation under review and will be available to engage with the Council, as required.