Cork City Council faces €573k wage bill

Cork City Council faces €573k wage bill

The wage bill at cash-strapped Cork City Council is to increase as a result of the public service pay restoration bill agreed by Government on Wednesday.

CORK City Council is set to be hit with a bill for more than half a million euro to restore the pay of its public servants.

Officials at the cash-strapped local authority this week confirmed that no compensation is set to be given by central government to cover the additional costs accrued by the decision to bring the public service pay restoration forward from September 1 to April 1.

Local authorities had been optimistic that central government would reverse its decision not to reimburse the councils, though this has proven not to be the case, leaving Cork City Council facing a bill of approximately €573,000.

The pay increase equates to roughly €1,000 per annum for staff earning less than €65,000 and was agreed under the Landsdowne Road Agreement.

Initially due to kick in in September, it was brought forward to April after local authorities had already agreed their 2017 budgets, leaving many scrambling to find the funds to cover the shortfall.

It came just months after Cork City Council hiked rates and parking charges to balance its books.

The move has been slammed by elected members who said it undermined the entire budget process.

Fears are now growing that front-line services may be cut in a bid to balance the books.

Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin said he is concerned that road and footpath renewal may be among the services to suffer as budgets are re-drawn.

He said, "We were told that any buoyancy in our funds at the end of the year could be redirected into road resurfacing, footpath renewal and housing programmes.

"We have been playing catch-up in this regard for a long time and now this means that we won't be able to do the work that we had wanted."

Some additional funding has been generated by city officials through taking a more proactive approach in tackling rent arrears.

New staff were hired at a cost of approximately €100,000, but the move generated more than €350,000 in additional income which had not been anticipated.

This will offset some of the additional costs, Mr Martin said.

"This is a positive. It is a boost when it comes to balancing the books. But this and any other surplus funds will have to be redirected towards the pay restoration now."

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