Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

A €227 mil­lion bud­get for 2018 de­scribed as ‘one of the most pro­gres­sive bud­gets adopted by any Ir­ish Lo­cal Author­ity’ by the coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, has been passed by a large ma­jor­ity vote of Fin­gal County Coun­cil.

In­tro­duc­ing the bud­get for 2018 to coun­cil­lors, coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Reid said the €227 mil­lion rev­enue spend­ing pack­age was ‘pro­gres­sive’ and ‘ex­pan­sion­ary’.

The new bud­get rep­re­sents an in­crease of over 5% in rev­enue spend­ing by the coun­cil for the year ahead with de­liv­er­ing so­cial hous­ing its top pri­or­ity.

Mr Reid said that Fin­gal was the fastest grow­ing and youngest pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try and it was ‘ap­pro­pri­ate we make the nec­es­sary in­vest­ment to sup­port that’.

He told coun­cil­lors that the bud­get rep­re­sented a more than half bil­lion euro con­tri­bu­tion to the lo­cal econ­omy and would sup­port 4,000 lo­cal jobs.

The €227m bud­get tar­gets in­vest­ment in five key ar­eas, namely hous­ing and home­less­ness, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, ser­vices to cit­i­zens, build­ing com­mu­ni­ties and grow­ing tourism. Ex­pen­di­ture on hous­ing and home­less­ness rises by al­most 11 per cent to €61m while the coun­cil’s road works pro­gramme will in­crease by nine per cent to al­most €26m. Spend­ing on Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Tourism will also be up by nine per cent to €21m and there is a five per cent in­crease in com­mu­nity in­vest­ment.

To fund that ex­tra spend­ing, the coun­cil had to find ways of gain­ing ex­tra rev­enue. Coun­cil­lors al­ready agreed in Septem­ber to re­duce the Lo­cal Prop­erty Tax by 10% and not the 15% it has dis­counted for lo­cal house­hold­ers since the tax was in­tro­duced.

Com­mer­cial rate pay­ers were also asked to pay more in this bud­get which agreed a 2% in­crease in coun­cil rates, the first rise in eight years. Mr Reid gave the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity a strong in­di­ca­tion that rates would rise again in the next bud­get but he said the coun­cil’s rates re­mained lower than its di­rect re­gional com­peti­tors in Dublin South and Dun Laoghaire Rath­down.

The coun­cil’s bud­get for 2018 was passed by a large ma­jor­ity and Mr Reid wel­comed the 30 votes to four mar­gin, in­sist­ing: ‘This is one of the most pro­gres­sive bud­gets adopted by any Ir­ish Lo­cal Author­ity and al­lows the coun­cil to con­tinue to meet the grow­ing de­mands of hav­ing to cater for a county that has the fastest grow­ing and youngest pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try as well as a rapidly grow­ing lo­cal econ­omy.’

Fin­gal County Coun­cil CEO Paul Reid.

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