The Independent Grouping in Cork County Council, which consists of ten Independent Councillors has this week given its full support for a 5% reduction in the Local Property Tax for 2016, thus enabling Cork County Council to provide additional services over the next year.
Commenting on the decision, spokesperson for the Independent Grouping on Cork County Council, Cllr. Declan Hurley said “Today’s decision is a very welcomed one for the people of Cork County. The Independent grouping felt it was very important to reduce the percentage of property tax paid in Cork in 2016 while also investing in additional “back to basic” services that the public are requesting from us”.
Some of the additional funding will ensure the following additional services will be carried out in 2016:
· €1m to continue funding rates relief scheme for small and medium businesses. The scheme offers 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. These businesses will get a credit note of 5% assigned to their account in January 2016. The introduction of this scheme is specifically to support small & medium businesses, which are over 65% of our rate payers in Cork County.
· €600,000 to recommence verge cutting throughout the county, weed control and additional planting to enhance the approaches to our towns and villages. Particular focus will be on approach to towns and villages which will be cut a few times during the year. This allocation would also be specifically there to support weed control and increased planting and grass cutting on approach roads to towns and villages.
· Additional €500,000 to repair vacant houses.
· €350,000 for continuation of boiler maintenance programme commenced in 2015
· Additional €250,000 for adaptations to council houses (DPG’s). There is currently a backlog in adapting council houses houses for tenants with a disability. This allocation will allow the Housing Directorate carry out a number of much needed extensions to council houses, adding to it current budget for 2015 of €750,000.
· €1m Town Development Fund. Additional €1m for 2016 to continue to support our town centres such as public infrastructure, marketing strategies to support businesses in towns etc.
· Continuation of €400,000 pay parking dividend for towns with pay parking. The pay parking dividend has support many initiatives in the eight towns with pay parking in 2015 such as footpath improvements, purchase of Christmas lighting, support for summer, Christmas and food festivals etc, all very beneficial to our towns.
Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea said “Despite the difficult financial situation Cork County Council still find themselves presently in, members continue to support a reduction in the property tax the people of Cork pay in 2016 while also recognises the critical nature of all our services and the need to expand on critical services of importance to the public in Cork. While I’m sure all councillors would like to see a considerable increase in the overall quantum off service delivery within the council, I am happy with the commitment that some core services will be enhanced in 2016. There are some areas under significant pressure and with the likely increase of economic activity in the county throughout 2016, I along with my colleagues will continue to press for further service enhancement at budget time and during 2016”.
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. Joe Harris (Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District)
· Cllr. Marcia Dalton (Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District
· Cllr. Alan Coleman (Bandon/Kinsale Municipal District)
· Cllr. Kevin Conway (Blarney/Macroom Municipal District)
· Cllr. Claire Cullinane (Cobh Municipal District)
· Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley (East Cork Municipal District)
· Cllr. Timmy Collins (Kanturk/Mallow Municipal District)
· Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea (Kanturk/Mallow Municipal District and currency Mayor of the County of Cork)
· Cllr. Michael Collins (West Cork Municipal District)
· Cllr. Declan Hurley (West Cork Municipal District)