Cork City Council: Budget shortcomings leading to roads in disrepair

Cork City Council: Budget shortcomings leading to roads in disrepair
The City Council are neglecting footpath and road maintenance, according to some councillors. Picture: Archive picture of footpath maintenance in Summerhill North. Credit: Eddie O'Hare

Some Cork City Councillors have stated that the Council does not have a sufficient budget plan to deal with road resurfacing, public lighting, traffic calming and footpath maintenance.

Cllr Sean Martin said at the Council meeting on Monday that it needed to be "put on record" that there are issues in relation to the Council's "financial shortcomings".

"We have no budget in place for footpaths, road resurfacing, traffic calming, laneway closures and public lighting programmes."

"The Council need to consider how we will raise additional funding… quite frankly I was not happy with what was being presented to me [in pre-budget meetings]."

Cllr Gould, also speaking at the Council, agreed with Cllr Martin, saying there were serious issues in relation to finance. "For ten years I have been trying to get traffic calming measures put in place in my ward, like some of the other councillors."

Speaking to the Echo today, Cllr Martin said that the shortcomings in the budget needed to be addressed. "We get NTA funding, but we are not able to facilitate everything that needs to be done. We have no money [allocated] locally."

The Fianna Fáil councillor said nationally, the government does not recognise this particular issue. "They might argue we can take it out of property tax, but it's [not enough]."

"The NTA's funding is dedicated towards upgrading the city centre, so we can do Patrick's Street, Henry Street… but there's no funding for local and residential areas. Even regional roads are an issue."

Cllr Martin said that while national projects are welcomed, they don't cater towards issues like this.

The councillor added that the switch from block funding to rolling funding presented its own challenges. "Before, we got our funding for five years and we could plan ahead."

"We need to establish a funding model for these traffic problems. We need a proactive approach, currently we are taking a reactive approach."

Also speaking to The Echo afterward, Cllr Gould said that prevention is key.

"If you look at the 2018/2019 figures, we will spend something like €4.5m on the likes of footpaths and road resurfacing. This is because they have gotten into such a terrible state."

"It costs more money by not repairing them," Cllr Gould added.

"A lot have gotten really bad recently. The council get specific grants [from the national government] to repair the roads but we have no discretionary funding to repair infrastructure as we go along."

Traffic calming was another serious issue, according to Cllr Gould. "Some areas have been waiting up to 20 years for traffic calming measures."

Cllr Gould said that if each of the five local electorate areas were given a budget for road resurfacing, lighting and footpaths, then the most urgent cases for repair could be attended to far quicker.

"At the moment there's nothing being done for decades."

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