Tipp council ranked 15th among local authorities
Tipperary Co Council was given an average scorecard of 15th among Ireland's 31 local authorities in the ninth annual performance report carried out by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC).
The report highlights the vast range of activities the council is engaged in, from housing to roads, motor taxation, environment, jobs creation and many other services. While it relates to the year 2022 - when the war in Ukraine and global increase in the cost of goods and services became a significant impact on local authorities - last month's meeting of the council was told that the NOAC report is useful for analysis of what is working and what is not for the council.
Though dropping one place from the 2021 ranking, Tipperary Co Council performed on a par with other counties of similar population size, and better in some instances.
A highlight of the year was a 16% increase in the council's housing stock to a total of 5,328 units. The housing vacancy rate fell from 4.39% in 2019 to 1.76% in 2022, well below the national average of 3.03%.
The average re-letting time for council houses in 2022 was 38.86 weeks, the 10th lowest time in the country. The average re-letting cost in Tipperary stood at €18,026.82, the 13th lowest in the country, while the maintenance cost per unit, at €750.77, was the 10th lowest.
The NOAC report also found that the percentages of Regional, Local Primary, Secondary and Local Tertiary roads surveyed in Tipperary have increased significantly since 2014. The Pavement Surface Condition Index (PSCI) ratings for all categories of roads has continued to improve. Some 376km of Regional roads and 1,446.5km of Local roads were strengthened and resealed over the period.
The council's motor taxation services were also examined in the NOAC report. Some 82.89% of motor tax transactions in Tipperary were online, 11th highest across the 31 local authorities; the national average was 81.1%.
Tipperary had 1,003 environmental pollution cases recorded in 2022, ranking it 14th nationally. The county saw a significant decrease in areas classed as unpolluted or litter-free, going from 63% in 2021 to just 1% in 2022, ranking it second from bottom overall with 59% of areas deemed slightly polluted and 40% moderately polluted. Only 1% of the county was deemed to be significantly polluted with no percentage of areas deemed grossly polluted.
Elsewhere, Tipperary ranked 21st in terms of library visits per head of population. The County Libraries had 21,561 active members – a 104% increase on 2021. Tipperary had the highest number of organisations on the County Register for the Public Participation Network at the end of 2022 at 1,354.
In terms of staffing, the whole time equivalent staff employed by Tipperary Co Council in 2022 was 1,061.09, an increase on the 2021 figure of 1,049.79. The national mean was 987.06 in a year when seven local authorities showed a reduction in staff numbers.
The NOAC survey also looked at visits to the council's website. There were 2.53 million website visits in 2022, an increase of 2% on 2021, ranking it ninth overall. Social media followers increased by 15% to 146,232 from 127,044, ranking it 16th nationally.
Commercial rates collection improved by 5% to 88% in 2022, the 17th ranked performance of the country's local authorities.
Tipperary also improved its ranking in public liability claims from 24th in 2021 to seventh in 2022 with a cost per capita of €12.31.
Among the costs of council services, Tipperary had the second lowest cost of planning services in Ireland - €23.90 per head of capita.
The council also scored well in jobs creation with 238 jobs created with the assistance of the Local Enterprise Office in 2022 compared to just 81 the previous year. This gave Tipperary the fifth ranking nationally.
At last month's meeting of the council, CEO Joe MacGrath complimented Senior Executive Officer Ger Walsh and his team in Corporate Services for their work. Echoing this was Cathaoirleach Cllr Ger Darcy, who said the indicators were good for Tipperary Co Council as it went into a 10th year as an amalgamated authority.
“I think we're going very well as a local authority, and a very young local authority at that,” Cllr Darcy commented.