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Councillor Gabriel Keating

Bid to reduce delays for west Clare LIS road upgrades

A BID has been made to reduce the backlog in West Clare of local roads that need upgrading under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS), writes Fiona McGarry.

At the July meeting of the municipal district, Councillor Gabriel Keating proposed that, in view of the 220 roads on the waiting list in the West Clare district, funding might be contributed from the income generated by the Local Property Tax (LPT) to match that from the Department of Rural and Community Development.

In a written response to Councillor Keating’s motion, Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance said the matter would be considered when the 2022 budget was being drafted.

“The draft budget 2022 process has commenced and will be considered by members at the statutory budget meeting later this year,” the reply stated.

“The Local Government Act 2001 Section 102 as amended by The Local Government Reform Act 2014 provides the legislative basis for the preparation of the draft local authority budget.

“This process has now commenced earlier than in previous years with the Municipal Districts involved in member workshops around the Local Property Tax Adjustment factor determination.

“This consultation will continue with the Corporate Policy Group (CPG) and further members workshops and will focus on the overall financial position of the local authority and a number of key items of financial consequences for 2022 including any variation in basic rate of Local Property Tax (LPT), emerging areas of increased expenditure, income reductions over previous years and increased non-discretionary expenditure.

“The Council generally do not provide any funding towards the LIS, which is for private roads not in charge by Clare County Council.

“The costs are funded by way of a grant from the Dept of Rural and Community Development and the local contributions (either 10% or 15%) payable by the residents/landowners.
“Where there is an amenity road the Council are liable for the local contribution of 15%. Grant funding of €500,811 has been allocated to CCC this year under the LIS which will facilitate works on 11 roads.

“The amount this council can allocate as match funding of the Departments allocation for the local improvement schemes is dependent on the total level of income available to it, and the non-discretionary costs that must be met as a first call on that income, including at municipal district level.

“The local authority focus is on the public road network as a priority.

“The ability to allocate additional funds to this councils’ roads own resource budget is highlighted annually as part of the statutory budget process. Consideration will be given to this motion as part of the drafting of the budget 2022.”

The issue of a loan agreed upon by the Council in 2016 for the purpose of upgrading LIS roads, but that was not subsequently pursued was raised by Councillor PJ Kelly late last month here

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