The meeting took place on Monday
Revenue raised from parking charges in Kilkenny City will not be retained exclusively for city use, following a majority decision by Kilkenny City Municipal District councillors at a special meeting on Monday.
However, the council’s head of finance Martin Prendiville has said spending levels in the city have been maintained, if not increased, since prior to the abolition of Kilkenny Borough Council. Mr Prendiville provided members with a breakdown of €5.3 million in city spending as part of the proposed council budget 2020. He also said that, of the €2.4 million generated from parking, the surplus is about €1.2 million after costs associated with operation and maintenance.
Director of services Tim Butler reminded the members that the budget was adopted pending receipt of legal advice from Hartes Solicitors on parking revenue and where it is to be spent.
This advice was received, and it sets out that the municipal district does have the power to adopt parking bylaws and charges, and to apply them as it sees fit. However, said Mr Butler, the advice also says the matter cannot be dealt with in isolation, and must take into account the council’s overall budget and the impact it would have on that.
Cllr David Fitzgerald thanked Mr Butler and the executive for obtaining the relevant information.
“The right to adopt bylaws and spending is a right for the municipal district, and not the council,” he said.
The Fine Gael councillor said he had been ‘taken aback’ by the reactions of some of his colleagues, who are not members of the city municipal district.
“I simply asked to clarify the law — not make new laws,” he said.
“ I have received some very unwelcome and inappropriate — I won’t refer to the exact texts and comments — but I’m personally quite taken aback about a number of comments made by councillors, who are not members of this municipal district.”
“To be clear, I believe the spending of these parking charges should be a matter for this municipal district, and I propose we retain the money raised through our parking charges,” he said.
Cllr John Coonan said everyone should be entitled to raise a matter if they wished.
“If we take out this money, we will have to find it [elsewhere]. The advice given was clear — the responsibility is to balance the overall budget,” he said.
Cllr Joe Malone said there had been a discussion on the matter in private and it had been good to get the information. He proposed adopting the budget as is, and Cllr Andrew McGuinness seconded it.
Cllrs Malcolm Noonan, Martin Brett, and John Coonan also voted in support of this, while Cllrs Eugene McGuinness and David Fitzgerald did not.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness commended Cllr Fitzgerald for bringing the notice of motion.
“It was a worthwhile debate, and we have figures now that we didn’t have before,” he said.