Covid cost threatens Laois county council projects

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Covid cost threatens Laois county council projects

Rock of Dunamaise, a planned carpark may be hit by income cuts.

Plans to complete road works or amenity projects in Laois or starting new projects are in doubt because they will rely on income this year from rates and parking charges which have suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency.

Laois County Council management reported its list of road and amenity schemes that are partly completed, paid for or not started, to county councillors at the April council meeting.

Roads include: the N80 Clonreher tie in, orbital routes and junction upgrades in Portlaoise and in Portarlington, Togher access routes, Durrow's regeneration, Port's Market Square, bridges, traffic calming and bus shelters around Laois.

Amenity works include: a carpark for the Rock of Dunamaise, the leisure centres in Portlaoise and Portarlington, libraries in Abbeyleix, Port, Portlaoise and Stradbally, Borris-in-Ossory courthouse, the Slieve Bloom mountain bike project and amenity projects, town and village renewals, urban and rural regeneration, the Portlaoise Triogue cycleway and greenway, the civic plaza in Portlaoise and playgrounds around the county.

The CEO John Mulholland noted in the Development Contributions report that work will depend on funds being available.

“A budget re-adjustment may be necessary during 2020 to take account of reduced income from rates, parking charges, go vernment funding, etc. This may impact on council services.

“There is a Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government requirement to ensure that expenditure is funded by income received or due within the year.

“Therefore, the commencement of some projects, particularly in the Roads and Amenity/Open spaces areas, is dependent on the availability of further resources and the extent of grants/ funding available from the Department, other departments and Transport Infrastructure Ireland,” Mr Mulholland said.

In 2019 €2.96 million was available in development contributions from roads, parking, amenity, environment and other sources.

€1.2 of it was spent by being put towards projects; €789k on roads in Portlaoise, €275k on Stradbally Arthouse, €63k on Port swimming pool, €46k on Portlaoise library, €24k on Slieve Bloom amenity, €3.2k on the civic plaza in Portlaoise and €2k on parking in Moutmellick.