Manager of the County & City Councils
I am pleased to be associated with the presentation of this Annual Report for the year 2008.
I am mindful that this report is being presented in extremely challenging times for the County & City Council's of Kilkenny given the national downturn in economic performance and its implications for the services we provide for our citizens.
Given this background, and the stringent financial restrictions under which we operate, the need for development of the County & City becomes even more important. With this in mind Kilkenny County and City Councils are pursuing a strategy that focuses on 3 principal strands namely:
The development of the rural economy and rolling needs of the principle towns and villages and surrounding rural areas.
The development of Kilkenny City to maximise its role as a hub in national and regional development strategies.
The development of South Kilkenny and the development of the Gateway in partnership with Waterford County & City Authorities.
This developmental role has to be balanced with prudent financial control and careful decision making as we seek to maintain and improve our level of services given the shrinking financial resources being made available to us.
The adoption in June 2008 of the County & City Development Plans for the period 2008-2014 provides a template for us to achieve these aims. Not withstanding the difficult financial situation, we are following an ambitious infrastructural investment programme which is detailed in the body of this report under the various service areas.
Key to this need to provide value for money is the concept of shared services be it on a regional basis or on a local basis between the county and city. Amongst the shared services which we have undertaken to provide with the focus of providing a streamlined service with the people of the city and county has been the following:-
The establishment of a dedicated housing office at Johns Green House for both County & Borough Council staff provide a one stop shop housing advice, client base service.
The delivery of the finance function on a shared service basis leading to efficiencies as systems, processes and methods of operation are combined.
The transfer of the Water Services functions to the County Council which took place in 2008.
A further sharing of services are due to take place in 2009 which should deliver value for money and a consistency of approach to the people of the County & City.
At this juncture, I wish to pay tribute to the work being done at local area committee level and at strategic policy level. These committees are invaluable in assisting the full County Council in pursing their objectives and getting through their business. The commitment of the councillors and external members who have been well served by successive chairs over the years continues to impress me.
I would like to express my appreciation for the dedication and hard work of the elected members, my colleagues on the management team and the staff of Kilkenny County & City Council's. I am confident that given the abilities and spirit of cooperation that is consistently shown by the elected members and staff of Kilkenny Local Authorities, we should be in a position to meet the challenges that lie ahead during these difficult times.
Finally I would like to particularly thank the Cathaoirleach Cllr. Tomas Breathnach and the Mayor Cllr. Pat Crotty both of whom I have enjoyed close working relationships during their tenures of office and both of whom have distinguished themselves in there respective roles.
I commend this annual report and I am confident that it will give an overview to the people of Kilkenny and beyond of the broad range of activities undertaken and the achievements during 2008 of the Councils and City of Kilkenny.