Municipal District: 18 February 2022
Motion: That reports to the council from Local Property Tax (LPT) grant recipients include a summary of the work done and the achievements, which are then compiled for the municipal district members in an open publication, in order to raise awareness of how LPT is spent and its impact for communities.
Environment Report: Tidy Towns Groups who receive grant funding are asked to provide a short overview on how those funds are used and are also reminded that projects undertaken by the Tidy Town groups should fulfil at least one of the categories of the National Tidy Towns competition.
Report issued by: Mr K Kavanagh, Senior Executive Officer, Environment Department.
Discussion and outcome: A further report was received the Economic Community & Cultural Development Department processed over 220 LPT grants in 2021, a significant increase on 2020. They expect this trend to continue upwards. LPT grant approvals were presented to the Municipal District Committee with a group name, brief description and an amount awarded. As part of the application form a brief project description was requested as well as a longer project description. These longer project descriptions could be compiled and made available to the members prior or subsequently to the funding being awarded. Members should be aware that in many cases project descriptions were by the nature of the project short and to the point e.g. Tarmac required at entrance gate. Department staff were already following up to ensure invoice receipts were submitted. Requesting or compelling volunteers to present a report of their activities would put further strain on our limited resources and the voluntary groups themselves.
A final report was received from Climate Action Department 2021 was the inaugural year for the Climate Innovation Fund processed by the Climate Action Office and with further Municipal District support, the fund was expected to grow in availability within the county. Grant approvals were presented to the Municipal District concerned with relevant information. Presently the successful bidders were required to submit progress reports at the launch, interim and final stages and report information could be made available. Payments were made post receipt of appropriate reporting and invoicing.
The members noted the reports and raised the following issues:
- They would like the members and the public to be able to view how the funding was distributed, who it went to and who benefitted from it.
- They would like to see photos and acknowledgements of the projects undertaken.
- A condition of receiving funding should be that photos and a paragraph outlining work be submitted with the application form.
- It would be beneficial to get the Communications Department involved, to assess feasibility for work on this during 2022.
- They noted how difficult it was to get volunteers and extra paperwork may discourage them from volunteering for these projects.
- Could this be looked at as a limited trial for 2022
Mr McDermott noted the member’s comments confirming recipients do send in receipts. The Community and Cultural Development Department already post some of these projects on social media through Community stories and have 8,500 followers. Mr McDermott also highlighted the importance of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) especially around the areas of youth groups.
The Community and Cultural Development would also need to ascertain the quality of information sent in by photos and videos, if not of a high standard they may not be suitable for publishing.
The District Manager noted the members comments, she thought interacting with the Communications Department was the best route to go. She also advised that there were monthly updates in the Chief Executives reports on some of these projects. She stated if it was something the council were to take on, they would need to consider what resources were available and it would need to be delivered to a very high standard.
Resolved on the proposal of Councillor Liston, seconded by Councillor Cussen and agreed by the members that the report be noted and the Meetings Administrator would raise this with the Communications Team to ascertain could they speak to the relevant departments to see how feasible it was.