Site at No 75/76 John Street, Kilkenny considered for office use

Auditor: 'Overdue for council to develop strategy on how it can finally obtain return on significant investment'

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

75/76 John Street

The site at 75/76 John Street

The site at 75/76 John Street — the former Meubles building — is currently being considered for office use, as Kilkenny County Council is urged to make some return on a substantial investment made a number of years ago.

The site was acquired by the council more than a decade ago with a price tag of around €7 million. It had been proposed to develop a new city library there, but this plan was abandoned due to a funding shortfall, in favour of plans to further develop the existing Carnegie library.

In the Local Government Audit Service’s recently-published report for the year ending December 31, 2017, the matter of the property at 75/76 John Street, which is included on the FixedAsset register, is again raised.

Local Government Auditor Gerard McMorrow notes that though the library plan is now not going ahead, ‘no formal decision has yet been made in respect to its long term use’.

“Consequently, it is now overdue for the council to develop a long-term strategy on how it can finally obtain a return on the significant investment made in this property,” he notes.

In her response, the Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council says that the site is ‘being considered for additional office space to consolidate the delivery of council services from County Hall’. She says that development is dependent on funding being available.

Fixed assets

Further under the ‘Fixed Assets’ heading, the auditor notes that the ‘inadequacies of the property and land registers have been highlighted at previous audits’.

“Following a further examination during the current audit, it is noted that while an additional resource has been applied to this area, these registers remain incomplete,” he writes, adding that it is ‘imperative’ the internal review currently under way is completed without further delay.

In her response, the chief executive says that an additional staff member has been allocated to the project in 2018.

“All lands/buildings registered in the council’s name will be catalogued and cross-checked with the council’s Fixed Assets register,” says the chief executive.

“There are approximately 4,000 entries to be verified. A new IT system will also be acquired to record the information on each asset.”

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