Cork county councillors are concerned that losing major revenue-generating areas as part of the proposed city boundary extension will leave them short of money to provide services, especially in peripheral areas.
It’s estimated that if the Mackinnon report is implemented in full, it will leave the council short €50m a year in lost rates and local property tax (LPT).
There is a mechanism for compensation from the city council for this loss, but county councillors are concerned that City Hall would not be able to pay it and also properly service the areas it has taken over.
In addition, the Mackinnon report says this compensation package can be reviewed after five years.
That is also a major concern for county councillors who are worried, that after five years, the compensation deal might be axed.
They also point out that there should be additional compensation into the future from rates and LPT generated by projects they have planned and set aside land for.
County council officials have created plans for thousands of new homes in Carrigtwohill and at Monard, Blarney.
They have also zoned a significant amount of land for industrial purposes, especially around Little Island and Carrigtwohill.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey has said that the vast majority of future development in the region will occur within the areas proposed for the city boundary extension.
The Mayor of County Cork, Declan Hurley, has said the Mackinnon report has had little regard to its own terms of reference in relation to service delivery or financial and resource implications.
“To proceed with implementation of this proposed boundary in the complete absence of such assessment is nothing short of reckless,” said Mr Hurley.
He also pointed out that it was “a joke” to contemplate that the people of Carrigtwohill would have anything in common with city dwellers.
This was borne out by a meeting held there recently by the local community council.
There was unanimous agreement that they did not want to become part of an extended city.
Residents in Ballincollig, which is far nearer to the existing boundary, have also held several meetings on the boundary extension and vowed to fight any attempt to alter their status.
It is really only the people of Glanmire who have not expressed opposition to being included in an extended city boundary.
However, there are others living in more rural areas who are also vehemently against the Mackinnon report.
Pat Murphy, a Bantry-based councillor, said it would create a two-tier Cork if implemented.
“The peripheral rural areas will be eating off crumbs coming from the metropolitan area,” said Mr Murphy. “There are people in the county very angry about this, who will not take it lying down.”
Meanwhile, one of the country’s leading developers has said he fears Cork will stagnate while the city’s proposed boundary extension is implemented and the only solution for sustained growth lies in the creation of one unified local authority.
Michael O’Flynn, like a number of county councillors, said he could not see how the city council could service such a vastly expanded territory.
He said he would far prefer to see the creation of one an overall local authority as he did not want to see one weakened by the other.
A number of county councillors have agreed with him on that.
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