Covid 19 has posed new challenges for all of us and each of those challenges has changed during the different phases of the Covid 19.
In response to those challenges, Tipperary County Council, Thurles Municipal District has embraced “new” ways of doing business with increased use of technologies which would have been used on a limited basis previously.
While the district has had to move to carrying out essential services in accordance with government guidelines, plans remain in place to move forward with “normal” work processes and a substantial programme of works once allowed to do so.
While the current phase of the crisis restricts services and contact, staff continue to work “behind the scenes” in dealing with emails, phone queries and restricted service provision at district level and in collaboration with the Community Response Forum at county level.
Ensuring that important decisions continue to be implemented to allow for continuity of business has meant dealing with our Elected Members and meetings in a different manner, embracing the ever increasing use of teleconferencing and video conferencing. This has necessitated a change to standing orders to allow for municipal district meetings to be carried out in these manner(s) therefore ensuring that decisions continue to have a legal basis.
The members of Thurles Municipal District held their district meeting by teleconference on Wednesday 8th April thereby allowing for continuity of decision making and ensuring that items such as a full Schedule of Municipal District Works was agreed with a view to being implemented when restrictions are lifted.
The Schedule of Municipal District works sets out the district works programme for the year and is approved by the Elected Members annually. It includes items such as Housing Maintenance, Roads Programme (improvement & maintenance), safety schemes and bridge rehabilitation, and schemes such as the Local Improvement Scheme and Community Involvement Scheme, street cleaning, burial ground maintenance, maintenance of amenities and drainage. The total approved district works programme for 2020 amounts to €9,752,963.
At the April meeting, members also approved payments to grant recipients in the categories of Burial Ground Grants, Tidy Towns Grants, Residents Association Grants and grants to Sporting Organisations. Expenditure on these grant categories will amount to €108,544.
The General Municipal Allocation which is discretionary funding allocated by the Members and amounts to €212,556 had already been approved at the February meeting and this is essential in funding many projects including grant schemes such as the Festival and Events Grant Scheme, Resident Association Grant Schemes, Christmas Lighting Contributions and Village Enhancement Works across the District, contributions to organisations and match funding for economic development opportunities.
Other major projects currently being progressed are:
Thurles Municipal District looks forward to getting back to normal in moving forward with projects, planned works, and working with our communities in all of the towns and villages in our district.
Cllr Michael Smith, Cathaoirleach Thurles Municipal District states;
“As Cathaoirleach of Thurles Municipal District, I acknowledge the challenging time we find ourselves in and the difficulties that the current restrictions are causing in carrying out our planned programme of works in the district and in working with our communities as we normally would.
While the Covid restrictions have allowed us to embrace new ways of doing business and improved use of technologies, I look forward to getting back to normal and the district moving forward with the planned works programme and working with our local community groups and business people again.
At our district meeting held on 8th April by teleconference, the members of Thurles District approved a substantial programme of works amounting to €9.7m and approval of grant payments in the sum of €108,544. A change to Standing Orders was also agreed to allow meetings to be held by teleconference and videoconference should the need arise in the future.
I would like to acknowledge at this time the contribution of all of the Elected Members in the district and district staff in facing these challenging times head on and ensuring that essential services continue to be delivered.
Phone lines remain open and Council staff are answering queries and dealing with public concerns to the greatest extent possible. Needless to say, my colleagues and myself are available to assist in any way we can in this unprecedented crisis.”
Eamon Lonergan, Acting District Manager states;
“Whilst the Council is still very much at the fore front of the delivery of essential public services, such as the provision of water and waste water services, fire responses, housing etc., unfortunately certain elements of our service model have been curtailed as a result of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Construction works and road works have been affected and halted with more recent restrictions on movement. These are two major parts of our annual service delivery programme.
The elected members and officials have acknowledged the importance of being prepared and ready to get back onto our works sites as soon as the restrictions are eased, and the use of teleconferencing facilities for the April Meeting of Thurles MD demonstrates the commitment of the District Council to use all avenues available to them to work together to make sure that this year’s Schedule of Works was adopted.
The €9.7 million investment in roads, housing, public realm and amenity works is a significant one and the level of planning, detailed design and management required by the District Engineer and the entire District team is substantial and time consuming.
So the decision to hold this month’s District meeting via teleconference was important as it now allows for such works to proceed behind the scenes during the period of restrictions, so that we as a District Council are ready to deliver the works for the people of the District once restrictions are lifted.”