A vote at County Hall will see an increase in prices across civic amenity sites in Cork. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Price hike for amenity centres

Councillors have voted to increase charges at civic amenity sites across the county following a lengthy and heated debate.

The vote was held during an online Cork County Council meeting this week during which councillors passionately voiced their opinions on the controversial issue and how best to tackle a deficit of €900,000.

While many agreed that ancillary charges for specific items and types of waste within the facilities should be increased, a proposed €1 increase to the entry fee proved the main cause for disagreement amongst councillors.

The issue had been previously discussed in a meeting held behind closed doors last Friday during which things reportedly got quite heated.

Following Friday’s meeting the Lord Mayor of County Cork Cllr Mary Linehan Foley urged elected members to have a “little respect” in their comments towards management and that she was “embarrassed as Mayor” by their behaviour.

A major concern amongst councillors was that an increase to the entry fee at civic amenity sites would lead to increased illegal dumping and fly-tipping in the county, an issue that is already of great concern.

Independent Cllr Danny Collins strongly opposed the entry increase and said charges at public sites are already too high in Cork county compared to private sites. He also called for a “total review” of where the council is losing revenue.

He said: “I'm totally against any prices hikes. I use a private site in Bantry and the prices are nothing compared to the public sites. The price hikes agreed in the budget were totally outrageous.”

A vote was held that saw 26 councillors vote in favour of an entry fee increase of €1 with increases to ancillary charges within the sites. The vote saw 14 councillors against the motion and three abstentions.

Increases in ancillary charges will include an increase from €20-€40 for a single-axle trailer of timber, and from €40-€80 for a double-axle trailer.

Domestic waste will increase by €1 per bag and the cost of disposing of furniture such as armchairs and couches will go up by €5.

Cllr Anthony Barry (FG) supported the motion to increase charges and agreed that a full review was needed. The councillor said that while nobody wants to increase charges to the general public, the fact is that there is a €3 million deficit in the funding for the sites.

He argued that those who engage in fly-tipping in the county will continue to do so, regardless of prices at civic amenity centres.

Responding to councillors, Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said that he would listen to councillors and take their vote into consideration, but ultimately would have to make the call himself to cover the €900,000 deficit. “I'll listen to it, but ultimately I have to set the charge to raise the €900,000, so I'd prefer to reach a situation here where we don't head for a second round of charges in another two months' time to increase the fees,” said Mr Lucey.