Cork city councillors agreed an expenditure budget of €240 million for 2022 at their annual budget meeting this evening, an increase of approximately €14 million in spending compared to 2021.
The budget was passed by a 24-7 majority of councillors.
The main contributors to the increase in expenditure are an increase in budget to homeless services of €4.5 million, an increase in the Capital Advance Leasing Facility/Mortgage to Rent of €3.9 million, an increase in funding for road resurfacing of €0.4 million and an increase in payroll of €4.8 million.
In a report to councillors, Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty said the preparation of the 2022 budget for Cork City Council “has proved to be an extremely challenging task”.
“In the case of Cork City Council, due to Covid-19 lockdown and the gradual reopening and then closing of business, our income sources have come under pressure and this uncertainty will continue into 2022 due to the changing Covid situation,” she added.
The CE said the bringing of a balanced budget before council involved taking into consideration the views and priorities of members as expressed in the numerous Finance and Estimates Committee meetings and Corporate Policy Group meetings.
She thanked councillors for engaging with the budget process and said their contributions and suggested solutions were of “great benefit in the finalising of the draft budget”.
In July, councillors voted to increase the Local Adjustment Factor (LAF) of Local Property Tax (LPT) in Cork city by 9%.
Ms Doherty said the €1.9m generated because of the increase in the LAF will fund Local Area Committees (€300,000 per LAC) and the sports capital grants of €400,000.
“The funding of LAC’s is an important milestone for members which will allow members to see meaningful development in their own local areas,” she said.
There will be no increase to commercial rates in 2022, however, car parking charges will increase for the first time since 2017.
The charge for Paul Street car park will increase from €2.30 to €2.70 per hour, while the charge for North Main Street car park will increase from €1.70 to €2.30 per hour.
Ms Doherty stated that despite the increases, Cork City Council “still provides the cheapest car parking in the city centre”.
In addition, on-street parking/‘Park by Phone’ will increase from €2.00 to €2.50.
Commenting on the budget the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher, said:
"This budget enables Cork City Council to not only continue to deliver essential services but also build on the progress that has been made in achieving its strategic goals, making Cork a better place to live, work and invest in.
"Much great work has been done in the life of this council to date and we now have the opportunity to continue this momentum."