Cork County Council Unveils Record Budget of €403 Million

Cork County Council’s Draft Budget for 2023 amounts to a record €403 million, an increase of €31 million for the current financial year. The increase in operational expenditure reflects Cork County Council’s commitment and ambition to deliver the services needed to enhance urban and rural communities across County Cork.

Amongst the priorities identified for the operational budget are investment in front line services across the Council’s 8 Municipal Districts, delivery of social and community services together with maintenance of existing service levels. Supporting economic development, protection of Climate Action funding, provision of infrastructure provision through correlation with the Capital Programme funding needs and continued delivery of Roads and Housing priorities are also key features.

In addition to the operational spend, Cork County Council’s Capital Programme from 2023-2025 outlines a proposed investment of over €1.2 billion, an increase of €270 million over the previous programme. Cork County Council has also re-committed to a series of measures specifically designed to address climate change with €484 million identified for projects related to climate adaptation on the capital programme 2023-2025.

The Council is especially cognisant of the challenges facing the economy, with inflation impacting both locally and globally. Despite these challenges, Cork County Council has committed to additional funding allocations for housing maintenance, street cleaning, library services and parks/open spaces. Budget 2023 also protects ring-fenced funds for each Municipal District to support town/village centre activity, including development, enhancement and festivals.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins, said,

This budget shows Cork County Council’s commitment to our communities. Despite economic uncertainty, the Council has chosen to increase spending which will have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives. I particularly welcome increased supports for local businesses through the Economic Development Fund, and the Tourism and Enterprise programme. As Elected Members, we are conscious of the impact of our decisions on businesses, evidenced in our rates waiver which the majority of businesses will benefit from.  We believe that the right balance has been struck to ensure continued growth while protecting vital public services.

As a result of the Consumer Price Index increasing by 9% over the past 12 months Cork County Council can no longer afford to maintain the current rate and deliver an effective service to the public. Budget 2023 has been prepared with an increase in the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) for commercial rates of 3.5%, a little over a third of the current rate of inflation. This increase has been carefully considered so that it will have a limited effect on the bulk of ratepayers, with over 70% of ratepayers paying an annual bill of €3,000 or less. The budget also includes provision for a Rates Incentive Grant Scheme for 2023. 

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said,

Like every business, Cork County Council is not immune to inflationary pressures and we have seen an increase in our cost base as we try to deliver services across the entire community. It would be financially unwise to not address this in Budget 2023.  We believe that the modest increase of 3.5% will enable us to increase our budgetary spend and return that investment to communities and businesses within the same calendar year. Given the inflationary cycle, this marks an effective reduction in rates income. I believe that we can continue to provide an efficient and effective service and provide the supports we need to weather whatever economic challenges lay ahead.