Merging of Tipperary will save €6m


The reunification of North and South Tipperary into a single local authority area after 180 years will save the State more than €6 million a year the body overseeing the amalgamation has said.

The Tipperary Reorganisation Implementation Group said there will be a 40 per cent reduction in management grades, a 10 per cent payroll saving, and a harmonisation of rates and service charges as a result of the creation of one local authority for the council.

The implementation plan published today details the steps towards unification by the next local elections in 2014.

Plans to amalgamate North and South Tipperary County Councils were announced by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan last year following the recommendation in 2010 of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group.

The new authority will serve a significantly increased population of 159,000 people compared with North Tipperary County Council 70,219 and South Tipperary County Council 88,433.

The combined number of councillors representing the counties would be 47 (North 21, South 26). But this will be reduced to bring the councillor numbers in line with the membership of similarly populated counties. The exact number of councillors will be determined separately by the Local Government Commission. Donegal County Council with a population of 160,927 currently has 29 councillors.

The new structure will result in one county manager, as opposed to two. There will be five directors of services with responsibility for roads, health and safety; planning and emergency services; water and environment; housing, community and economic development; corporate services and human resources. There will also be one head of finance.

The amalgamation of the senior posts will reduce the number of management grades by 40 per cent. However due to the size of the county the local authority offices will be retained at both Clonmel and Nenagh which are 90km, or one and a half hours of travel time apart.

The head of finance will be based in Nenagh along with the directors of services for roads, health and safety, and planning and emergency services. The other directors will be based in Clonmel, but each service will have some staff based at the other centre.

Commercial rates for the new authority will be charged at the South Tipperary level representing a reduction for North Tipperary. Service charges for water, fire and other miscellaneous services will be similarly harmonised. This will result in costs of around €560,000 per year the group said but overall savings will be €6.15 million a year.