End of discretionary funding will be a ‘retrograde step’
DISCRETIONARY funding, which has greatly eased Cork County Council’s financial headaches, especially in times of severe weather, is on the way out from next year.
At the Kanturk Mallow municipal meeting, Jim Moloney of Cork County council said that they had been allowed 25% discretionary funding but in recent years this has been reduced to 20%. However, he said due to the “upturn in the economy” they have been told that from next year they will not be allowed to utilise any discretionary funding but instead will have to dig into their own coffers.
Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) warned that this would be a “retrograde step” and a “step too far”.
“I really feel that the discretionary fund should be increased and not be ended. It is local engineers who have the knowlege of the area. While the general public will accept that more money is being spent on national roads, such as Ballymacquirke, it is the regional roads that need the most looking after. That really is imperative,” he said.
For example, with discretionary funding roads which may require work such as patching, it means that CCC can use dis- cretionary grants and not put a dent in their budget.
Mr Moloney said over the last two years, when the weather was particularly harsh, they could use their own resources but can supplement it by way of the discretionary grant which proved to be “ideal.”
“But it now seems that for next year we will only use our own money,” he said.
Cllr Murphy pointed out that Cork was “unique” when it came to discretionary funding compared to other regions and it was imperative that it should remain so.
“In fact, I am proposing that we should seek an increase in discretionary funding rather than the proposed decrease,” he said. Councillors John Paul O’Shea (FG), Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) and chairman of the meeting Cllr Gearoid Murphy (FG) were all in agreement at this course of proposed action.
Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) said it would be a “retrograde step” to end discretionary funding.