COUNCIL BUDGET IS ‘PROGRESSIVE’ SAYS COUNCIL CEO
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.