Minutes of Special Meeting of Sligo County Council held on 23rd April, 2009 at 11.00 am in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo.
- Councillor Baker,
- Councillor Barrett,
- Councillor Barry,
- Councillor Bree,
- Councillor Cawley,
- Councillor Colleary,
- Councillor Conmy,
- Councillor Devins,
- Councillor Fleming,
- Councillor Fox,
- Councillor Gormley,
- Councillor Healy McGowan,
- Councillor Henry,
- Councillor Higgins,
- Councillor Kilgannon,
- Councillor Lundy,
- Councillor MacManus,
- Councillor McGrath,
- Councillor McLoughlin,
- Councillor Mullaney,
- Councillor Murray,
- Councillor Queenan
OFFICIALS IN ATTENDANCE:
- Mr H. Kearns, County Manager
- Mr T. Kilfeather, Director of Services
- Ms M. Leydon, Head of Finance
- Mr T. Carroll, Senior Engineer
- Mr T. Brennan, Senior Engineer
- Mr M. Feeney, Administrative Officer
- Mr F. MacNabb, Meetings Administrator
- Ms F. Loughlin, Staff Officer
- The Cathaoirleach, Councillor J. Devins presided.
REVISED REGIONAL AND LOCAL ROADS GRANT ALLOCATIONS 2009 REF: CIRCULAR RLR 08/2009:
Mr T. Kilfeather Director of Services gave a brief overview and summary of the principal changes to the roads grants allocations and its implications for 2009, as advised in Circular Letter RLR 08/2009 from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government as follows:
The Original 2009 Roadworks Programme was adopted by the Members at the April meeting. The Roadworks Programme is funded by Grant allocations from the National Roads Authority (NRA) in the case of National Roads and from the Department of Transport (DoT) in the case of non- national roads, supported by the Councils own contribution as adopted at the annual Budget meeting.
The 2008 Roadworks Programme totalled €22,457K. The 2009 Programme as adopted by the Members at the April meeting totalled €20,128K a reduction of €2,329K or 10.4%.
These reductions were in the allocation from the NRA totalling €2,074K, a reduction of €400K in the Councils own contribution offset by an increase of €145K in the DoT grant towards non national roads.
On the 14th April, the Council were advised that the DoT grants were been reduced from €14,925K to €10,707K, a reduction of €4,218K or 28.3%. While this is a hugely significant reduction it is we understand a little below the average reduction across all local Authorities.
The €4,218K reduction was allocated as follows:
- Discretionary Improvement Grant down by 50% or €351,000.
- Restoration Improvement Grant down by 40% or €2,838,000.
- Specific Improvement Grant down by 32% or €985,000.
- Other down by €44,000
On the 16th April, the Council were advised by the NRA that the 2009 maintenance grants were been reduced by €156K or 12.4%.
In summary Cathaoirleach, the revised 2009 Roadworks Programme now totals €15,754K as compared to €22,457K for 2008 and €20,128K as was adopted by the Members for 2009 at the April meeting.
The implications for the Roadworks Programme as it currently stands compared to that adopted by the Members last month can be summarised as follows:
- While the Discretionary Improvement Grant has been reduced by 50%, we propose to commence all projects approved by the Members at local area meetings and if incomplete, then to complete subject to funding in 2010.
- In the case of Projects funded under the Restoration Improvement Grant where there has been a reduction of €2,838,000, 45 only of the original 83 schemes approved in April will be undertaken in the current year.
- In the case of the Projects funded under the Specific Improvement Grant where there has been a reduction of €985,000 funding has been withdrawn for 2 projects and reduced in the case of a number of other projects. This will mean a reduction in the level of works originally planned for those schemes in 2009.
The reductions last week of €4,373K to our 2009 Roadworks Programme will have significant implications for improvement of Non National Roads Network.
We will continue our efforts to maximise value for money in the delivery of the Roadworks programme during the year notwithstanding the reduced funding. As part of this we are requesting revised pricing for Plant Hire/Tool Hire/Supplies & Services under the Local Authority Annual Quotation system. We anticipate more favourable rates will be forthcoming and these will come into effect on May 11th.
It will be imperative that the labour content of various programmes is maximised to ensure continued employment of direct labour crew on various works programmes in current difficult year. Instructions have been given to all project managers to maximise the labour content of all projects under the various programme headings due to the exceptional financial circumstances in the current year. At the same time we will be focusing on generating savings in other areas across the Programme to ensure staffing levels are maintained. Only essential overtime in the event of emergencies will be allowed, all discretionary spending including travel costs will be reduced.
We will review the roll out of the Roadworks Programme in July/August to see the impact of these cost cutting measures and expected better value for money in tendering process so as to consider the implications for staffing levels. Management will be engaging with the Unions in relation to the employment situation as the Roadworks Programme is rolled out.
The County Manager re-iterated the Councils difficult situation with the budget cuts but stated that the objective was to try and maintain employment. He also made reference to the possibility of a reduction to the Local Government Fund from the Department and that income was proving very difficult to collect. He further stated that discussions would be taking place with Unions in relation to change in work practices and that this programme group would have to be continually monitored over the course of the year.
Members expressed their shock and disappointment at the reduction to the Roads Grants Allocation for 2009 and a general discussion took place. Then the following motions were put:
Proposed by Councillor G. Mullaney
Seconded by Councillor T. McLoughlin
“To propose a delegation of Oireachtas and Local Authority Members to meet with Department of Environment and Department of Transport to request that the budget as agreed be restored to its original figure”
Proposed by Councillor A. Higgins
Seconded by Councillor G. Mullaney
“to adopt the revised 2009 Roadsworks Programme”
VOTES OF SYMPATHY:
Proposed by Councillor M. Gormley
Seconded by Councillor G. Murray
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Ms. Kathleen Scanlon on the death of her sister Gertie McDonagh”.
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Ms Grainne Clinton on the death of her Mother, Catherine Devaney”.
“That a vote of sympathy be extended to Fr Padraig Costello on the death of his Mother, Nancy”.
END OF MEETING:
The meeting ended at 12.50 pm
Meeting Date 23/04/2009