As I advised last week we reconvened the council on Monday last to ensure that we completed the council agenda for the November sitting. The quarterly reports for both Environment Dept transport Dept and Recreation and Amenity Departments were presented. This resulted in lively debate on a host of issues such as public services and availability to the public of a host of public amenities.
Other issues of note debated included the need for implementing new by-laws to prohibit advertising vehicles from parking along the promenade and for commercial vehicles from using the promenade and surrounding areas as a car park especially for overnight parking. This seems to be a particular problem around Leisureland and for certain housing estates plagued by people camping in cars and vans outside of private houses.
I was delighted to get my motion passed calling on An Garda Siochana to rigorously implement the existing by-laws prohibiting overnight parking or camping in certain streets ad areas along the seafront. We will be bringing in new by-laws to prohibit the misuse of advertising vehicles in the new-year.
I also successfully got a motion over the line that will enable the Council to get commercial sponsorship of public playgrounds thus opening up the possibility of hugely increasing the quality, scale and quantity of playgrounds in the city going forward. At no cost to the public so it is a win-win for all.
A motion addressing the development of a site in Newcastle was postponed till the December meeting. The agenda was still not completed as we ran out of time before a statutory budget meeting so we will return to it again in December and will continue on until it is entirely completed.
Last Monday was also budget day which meant that we had a second meeting commencing at 4pm. Passing the budget is probably the single most important function fulfilled by a City Councillor. If the annual budget is not passed the council falls. This is usually a great incentive to focus the minds of all concerned.
All in all I was delighted to preside over a great news budget. As Mayor and chair of the meeting I and others presented some amendments to the budget presented by the City Council executive. This saw the increased distribution of almost €700,000 of funding for local area improvements, for sports clubs, amenity upgrades and various causes of merit and social or economic need.
As always we could easily have distributed a multiple of this amount however in my time as a councilor we have never before been in a position to distribute such a large amount and as Mayor I was particularly pleased to have been involved in driving such a positive initiative.
The impacts will be felt across the city and are targeted in the broadest possible fashion so as to ensure that the maximum benefit is felt by the maximum number of people.
We hugely increased spending on almost all areas especially in socially important areas as housing and building, Road Transport and Safety, Environmental services, and recreation and amenity social inclusion, waterways protection.
An annual budget of just over €80 million is not enough to meet the needs of such an active and vibrant city as ours. We could easily allocate twice that amount if it were available to us.
However given we did not increase property taxes or commercial rates this was a significant achievement budget. The increases will primarily funded through cost efficiencies in house and a decrease in vacant commercial property rebates to 40% plus an increase of in Daily parking in Council owned car parks only bring them up to 50% of the cost similar privately run commercial car parks.
A copy of the budget book will become available to the public in the near future and all of the detail will be available for public perusal. It does make interesting reading as it clearly displays the complexities of running the city from a financial perspective.
As mayor I am delighted to preside over this budget. It is a positive and good news event which will have its impact felt throughout the city in 2018. Under the current financial circumstances this is a significant achievement and I would like to publicly thank my fellow Councillors for their input and support throughout what was a long and tiring process but ultimately a really worthwhile one.
Bad news travels fast, hopefully good news can do likewise. It deserves it.
Follow me - Facebook: www.facebook.com/MayorPearceFlannery/ Twitter: @PearceFlannery