Cork County Council facing deficit of up to €30m due to coronavirus pandemic

Cork County Council facing deficit of up to €30m due to coronavirus pandemic
Pic: Denis Scannell

CORK County Council is facing a deficit of €22m to €30m in the 2020 budget following the unforeseen financial crisis that has accompanied the global pandemic caused by Covid-19.

The County Hall budget for 2020 had been €338m, including a €2.3m deficit from the county reserves. 

This figure was down €6m on 2019 figures (€344m) thanks to the boundary extension.

It is understood County Hall chief executive Tim Lucey briefed party leaders on the figures on Monday morning and a full briefing to councillors is being made at the next council meeting being held on June 8.

It is hoped at this time County Hall will have a more detailed breakdown of the figures.

The deficit is said to be caused by a fall in rates, which at present is being conservatively estimated to be a drop of 15%, alongside a drop in county revenue from tourist facilities such as Spike Island and swimming pools with a fall in income from paid parking facilities across the county.

Planning fees and income from Civic Amenity Sites are also down due to the pandemic.

Speaking to The Echo a source said that there was a “severe deficit” in the budget and it was “not a pretty picture,” but there were also a lot of unknowns at present and more work needed to be carried out to firm up these estimates.

The council’s budget woes do not come as a surprise with senior engineers has mentioned the potential drop in available funds due to plenty of unknown factors that could influence the budget following the pandemic in previous meetings.

The council are not alone in their deficit estimations with Cork City Council announcing a loss of €6m in rates since the coronavirus pandemic.

Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath said he has asked for a full briefing to be made to the council, which was agreed, and was taking place at the next meeting on June 8.

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