THE merger of Limerick City and County Councils has taken a major step forward with the publication of the Limerick Reorganisation Implementation Group’s (LRIG) implementation plan.
The document, which has been submitted to Minister Phil Hogan, sets out the course for the merger of the two local authorities up to the election of a single authority in mid-2014.
Since the amalgamation was formally announced by Mr Hogan in 2011, Limerick’s first joint manager was appointed in the shape of Conn Murray.
Other developments include the development of a local government fund in Limerick of €250,000, as well as a commercial rate reduction of 5%.
A major new economic strategy is also due to be published shortly.
“A key objective of the strategy is to achieve a significant increase in economic activity, enterprise and investment in Limerick, supported by purposeful local government and an ambitious spatial plan for the redevelopment and revitalisation of Limerick City Centre,” said Mr Hogan.
Proposals in the plan include The setting-up of a new metropolitan district in Limerick, with a population of around 100,000; The creation of a single motor-tax authority for Limerick and the setting-up of a “high-level economic group” involving business leaders to help deliver investment and jobs for Limerick.
It is also proposed that the new authority, which will be headquartered at City Hall, will be named “Limerick City and County Council” and that the office of the Mayor of Limerick will be retained.
The LRIG also recommends that lands owned by Shannon Development in Limerick city and county be transferred into the ownership of the new authority.
Following the publication of the report, Mr Hogan said the merger is still expected to achieve savings of around €15m per year - despite many councillors expressing reservations at this.
“The implementation plan shows clear resolve on the part of the Group and the local authorities to take the action required to achieve necessary efficiencies” said the Minister.
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