The Independent Grouping in Cork County Council, which consists of nine Independent Councillors has today (24th November 2014) given its full support to Cork County Council’s budget for 2015. The budget which is business orientated and community focused will have an overall revenue budget of just over €289m for 2015.
Commenting on the budget, spokesperson for the Independent Grouping on Cork County Council, Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea said “Today’s budget is a very welcomed one for the people of Cork County. We have had some very tough budgets in the last five years and we, as a grouping feel this budget shows how we as a strong grouping within the council want to support the businesses and communities within our county to recover from the recession. We recently supported the 10% reduction in the Local Property Tax rate for 2015 and today’s budget shows this is achievable while also supporting and enhancing the core services of the council throughout 2015”.
Key points from the agreed budget are as follows:
- No increase in commercial rates – Rate of 74.75 will remain – this is the eight year there has been no increase in rates within Cork County Council.
- Introduction of a 5 year rates relief scheme for small and medium businesses. The scheme which will cost €1.066m in 2015 will offer all businesses currently paying the county rate of 74.75 and has an annual rate bill of up to €3,000 grant aid of up to 5% of their annual rate charge. The introduction of this scheme is specifically to support small & medium businesses, which are over 65% of our rate payers in Cork County
- Increase funding to €1.07m towards the Economic Development Fund in order to boost economic growth within the county
- Five year harmonisation period for rates of former town council areas. All former town council areas will continue to pay the same rates in 2015 as they did in 2014. Harmonisation of rates to county rate will be phased in from 2016-2020
- Increase of €500,000 towards maintenance of council houses
- €350,000 has been allocated to a boiler maintenance programme
- Budget allocation for all former town councils has been maintained and incorporated into the new Municipal Districts budget allocations
- General Municipal Allocations has been increased to over €1.8m – Discretionary money for Municipal Districts for funding community and other discretionary projects
- €1m allocated to a specific Town Development Fund in order to support the revitalisation of our town centres
- €400,000 pay parking dividend to be given to all 8 towns/urban centres which currently operate pay parking which will be spent directly in these towns.
Cllr. O’ Shea added “Despite the difficult financial situation we find ourselves presently in, the budget for 2015 recognises the critical nature of all our services and has maintained core 2014 budget allocations in all our key service areas such as Housing, Roads, Public Lighting, Environment, Veterinary, Planning and Community supports. While the Independent grouping would like to see a considerable increase in the overall quantum off service delivery within the council, we are happy with the commitment that at the very least existing levels are maintained and will be increased where possible. There are some areas under significant pressure and with the likely increase of economic activity in the county throughout 2015, the Independents on Cork County Council will continue to press for service enhancement during the year”.
The grouping of Independents was set up in Cork County Council following the local elections in May 2014. The grouping has allowed Independent councillors access to a variety of decision making committees and groups where as a single member, would not have been possible. The grouping also has two members sitting on the Corporate Policy Group of Cork County Council, which has monthly meetings with the Chief Executive and his staff at Cork County Council on the policy direction and day to day operations of Cork County Council.
Members of the Independent Grouping on Cork County Council are as follows:
· Cllr. Kevin Conway (Blarney/Macroom Municipal District)
· Cllr. Michael Collins (West Cork Municipal District)
· Cllr. Declan Hurley (West Cork Municipal District)
· Cllr. Claire Cullinane (Cobh Municipal District)
· Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley (East Cork Municipal District)
· Cllr. Joe Harris (Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District)
· Cllr. Marcia Dalton (Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District)
· Cllr. Timmy Collins (Kanturk Mallow Municipal District)
· Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea (Kanturk/Mallow Municipal District)