Manager of the County & City Councils
I am pleased to be associated with the presentation of this Annual Report for the year 2010.
I wish to express my thanks and appreciation for the efforts of elected members, management and staff of the two authorities in maintaining a high level of service delivery to the people of the county and city, especially under the stringent financial restrictions in which we now operate. Within the main body of this report the various activities and delivery of services and infrastructure projects being progressed by Kilkenny County & City Borough Council's are outlined.
The year 2010 was a challenging year for the Council as income and expenditure was stepped down in the light of difficult economic conditions with a reduction in revenue expenditure of €6.2m to €70.3m. Reduced and decreasing sources of income from both national and local sources, together with stagnation in commercial and development activity has meant that substantial reductions have had to be made across a number of areas.
The Council faced these changed circumstance and delivered and re-balanced services in line with the prevailing economic conditions while seeking to be as developmental as possible and this is likely to be our continuing outlook in the coming years.
In contrast, the significant capital expenditure of previous years has resulted in the infrastructure in the region and in the county being dramatically improved particularly with the opening of the M9. This has transformed transportation, access and travel time within the region and provided significant economic opportunities. Coupled with this has been a significant expansion in water/waste water infrastructure particularly in Belview/South Kilkenny with the opening of the Belview water supply, a joint venture between the IDA and the Council, which again, has transformed economic possibilities in the South Kilkenny/Belview area, and provided a competitive advantage for enterprises in need of significant volumes of water.
In the light of these developments, the Councils, launched a new marketing initiative to promote Kilkenny as a place to do business. The Invest Kilkenny campaign is selling Kilkenny on its fast global access, third level accessibility and a fantastic quality of life in a city and county steeped in rich culture and heritage that attracts and retains the calibre of people needed to drive business success. A dedicated Business Support Unit has been established to support this initiative and promote Kilkenny City and the strategically-located Belview development zone in south Kilkenny and the district towns and hinterland.
A new website www.investkilkenny.ie was launched which includes a property finder and details of local business success stories featuring interviews with leading businesses in Kilkenny including taxback.com, Glanbia, Vhi healthcare, State Street and Cartoon Saloon. Kilkenny has proven it is a great location in which to establish and grow a global business and these key players have given resounding endorsements to running an international business from Kilkenny.
As part of the campaign it was announced that the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is to open an Information Communication Technology (ICT) Research and Innovation Centre on the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) Kilkenny Campus at St. Kieran's College and plans have progressed significantly on this collaboration. The new research centre marks the continued growth of WIT's highly successful Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG), an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation, employing 140 research staff and students. This will help to better position Kilkenny in respect of information technology and telecommunication sectors.
Turning now to other major challenges in 2010, it would be remiss not to record the Council's appreciation of the contribution and toil of many people and organisations, during the severe weather of January 2010. Outstanding work was done by the staff of the Councils particularly in Roads and Water sections, Fire Services, Civil Defence, the Health Services Executive, An Garda Siochana, the Defence Forces, communities generally across the county including Snowbusters and the IFA, elected members of the Council and the Oireachtas and media organisations.
In conclusion I wish to thank the Cathaoirleach Cllr. Catherine Connery and the Mayor Cllr. Martin Brett for their chairing of the Council's and representation of the County and of the City, with all sections of the community.
I commend this annual report and I am confident that it will give an overview of the broad range of activities undertaken and the achievements of the Council's of the County & City of Kilkenny in 2010.