MUCH of the money to be set aside for the £1.8 million Powys Covid Recovery Fund, could actually be spent on the county’s roads.
More detail of the fund was given at a Powys County Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 2.
Extra funding of over £2.8 million given by the Welsh Government to fund costs of dealing with the pandemic, had allowed the Independent/Conservative cabinet to re-jig the budget last week, and saw a Council Tax increase drop from 3.9 per cent, to 2.9 per cent.
This also freed up money to be used for the recovery fund.
Director and Economy and Environment, Nigel Brinn, explained the fund’s purpose.
Mr Brinn, said: “It was great to see the council support this proposal last week.
“An issue that has been brought up numerous times is assistance to our highways teams.”
He pointed out that Powys has the largest road network in Wales and explained that the A and County roads are in “good condition” but other roads are not,
Mr Brinn said: “We recognise there is an opportunity for us to put some additional funding in there.
“I know the team are keen to work this up and will come back with some detailed proposals shortly.”
He added that community groups, charities, social enterprises, as well as those maintaining public conveniences could submit bids for funding.
“There’s no shortage of good ideas out there,” said Mr Brinn.
Businesses could also apply, especially those who have “fallen through the gap” of government business funding.
Mr Brinn pointed out that the community development would be added to it pushing the funding to around £2 million which would allow £1 million to be spent each year,
Of this £400,000 would go to charity groups with £600,000 to go to the Council’s Economy and Environment directorate with the proviso that a “minimum of 50 per cent” go to the Highways Recovery Fund.
Council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, said: “I’m very pleased about this.
“It will sweep up those individuals and groups that haven’t received help from any other schemes.
“I live in hope that there are more bits of money that are due to come in as well.”
Cllr Harris added: “I have a list here of councillors who voted against this.
“I’m astonished to read that anyone could vote against this, we’re very fortunate to have this extra money.”
Portfolio holder for Corporate Governance, Engagement and Regulatory services, Cllr Graham Breeze, said: “I welcome the additional funding for our rural road network.
“Like all councillors I’m inundated by residents with complaints about potholes.
“Our communities have suffered for long enough, and our roads continue to deteriorate particularly during frosty periods.
“This us a golden opportunity for us to concentrate on some of the worst hit areas of Powys.”
Portfoloio holder for Children’s Social Services and Culture, Cllr Rachel Powell, added: “It’s a difficult climate for many organisations and businesses.
“I look forward to hearing what applications are sent in.”