Cork County Council Seek To Break Deadlock With City Council.

By Seamus Whelehan

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In an effort to force “meaningful” discussion between both city and County Councils, Cork County Councillors voted to enact article 29 of the 1991 local government act which allows for a six month public consultation period, despite the City Council’s rejection of the County’s plan last month.
Under the plan submitted by the County it would allow for a city extension which would see the authority’s coffers cut by €8.6 million.
The McKinnon report if implemented would see the County lose over €50million in revenue.
Under the county’s proposal the authority would surrender Doughcloyne, Grange, Kilbarry and Ballyvolane. But remain in control of Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, Little Island, Cork Airport and Carrigtwohill.
The McKinnon report recommends that the City Council would pay the County €40million per annum over a ten year period to compensate for the loss of Rates revenue and local property tax.
However in the detailed document submitted yesterday the County Councillors contend any equalisation fund needs to be held in “perpetuity”.
Within the document they contend businesses that would transfer to the new City would likely see a 26% increase in rates.
The County council state that their offer of lands would grow the city by a further 40,000, growing its population by almost a third to 165,000.
The 50 page report states that combined with the national framework document the new city would have the potential to grow to 284,000.
The population density would grow from 3,000 per square kilometre to 4,000 per square kilometre.
The councillors said they hoped the document would help break the current dead lock, with Cllr Ian Doyle warning the authority also had the option of a legal challenge to McKinnon if negotiations were fruitless.
Councillor Noel Collins said the report gives the Council “the precise ammunition to fight the enemy of the grab all brigade.”
With Cllr Derry Canty urging Minister Simon Coveney and Michael Martin “to take the McKinnon of the table and stop driving a wedge between City and County Council.”
Mayor of Cork County Declan Hurley said the boundary extension is “the biggest decision to be taken in City and County for the last 50 years. One that’s going to have an effect for hundreds of years to come. People should have their say, it’s been something that has been missing from the whole process.”
He said “hopefully we don’t have to go down the route of applying legal structures.”

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