Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
Local Authority Funding
245. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the steps he will take to ensure that Cork City Council can remain financially viable; if he will take steps to remedy the underfunding of same by the Government; the steps he will take to rectify the loss of funding from changes in commercial rates caused by Government policy; and the way he will assist putting Cork City Council on a sound financial footing. [35806/16]
248. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the steps he intends to take to ensure that Cork City Council can remain financially viable; his plans to take steps to remedy the underfunding of same by the Government; the steps he intends to take to rectify the loss of funding from changes in commercial rates; and the way he intends to assist putting Cork City Council on a sound financial footing. [35878/16]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 245 and 248 together.
It is a matter for each local authority to determine its own spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process having regard to both locally identified needs and available resources. The elected members of a local authority are responsible for all reserved functions of the authority, which include adopting the annual budget and authorising borrowing, and are democratically accountable for all expenditure by the local authority.
My Department has worked closely with the local government sector in recent months through the County and City Management Association in the preparation of a consistent and evidence based approach to the various funding pressures, on a sector wide basis. This work helped inform decisions concerning the distribution of resources within the parameters of the national and fiscal budgetary position and the competing priorities presenting themselves at Governmental level. Notwithstanding these competing priorities I ensured, in the approach to Budget 2017, that funding for the sector was secured in a number of areas, including in respect of pay costs and water related costs.
The levying of commercial rates is also a matter for local authorities. The rates income of a local authority is determined by the Annual Rate on Valuation adopted by the local authority and the valuations of commercial property as determined by the independent Commissioner of Valuation. There has been no change in Government policy in this area.