Boundary extension may cost county council €19m a year

The proposed deal on the extension of the city boundary will cost Cork County Council up to €19m annually in lost income and will see around 350 of its staff transferred to the city council.

The figures are contained in a document put together by representatives from both local authorities in recent days which is to be passed on to Local Government Minister Eoghan Murphy today and come before Cabinet for approval on Tuesday.

The compromise falls short of the Mackinnon proposals, which if implemented in their entirety would have resulted in the city taking over the rates-rich areas of Little Island and Carrigtwohill. If that had happened the county council would have lost up to €31m annually in income from rates and local property tax.

The latest proposals state that the county council will have to be compensated for the €19m loss and that this compensation will be index-linked.

Some fine-tuning will also have to take place on compensation levels for projects on which the county council has already spent a great deal of money in ceded areas, which will benefit the city council when they come to fruition, such as the 5,300-house town at Monard, near Blarney.

A review will also take place in 10 years to see if both local authorities are providing the same level of services as they were before the boundary extension.

The county council has inserted a clause in the agreement which states that if the city council cannot at any stage pay compensation it will be underwritten by the Government.

Meanwhile, it is expected that county councillors will debate the adoption of the document at a statutory meeting next Monday.

Fianna Fáil councillors who are against the document have asked for a formal vote to be taken on it.

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