Fingal adopts budget of €286m for 2021
Fingal County Council has adopted a budget of €286m for 2021 which will ensure that services are maintained and enhanced into next year. It represents an increase of €16.3m from 2020 and is the equivalent of €966.78 per head of population.
The Budget provides for increased expenditure in a number of key areas and also makes a level of provision for possible adverse effects due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Council’s finances.
The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr David Healy said: “I am glad that we have been able to pass a strong budget that responds to the circumstances we find ourselves in. The Council's prudent approach to financial management over the last number of years has put us in a position to massively restructure the Council's operations in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As we prepare for the uncertainty of 2021, we have adopted a budget which will ensure our services are maintained and improved and which will enable us, responding to demand from our citizens, to provide new facilities and to carry out maintenance, particularly in active travel, in housing, and in parks and open spaces.
“I want to acknowledge the work done by the Chief Executive and the staff in the different sections of the Council in preparing the budget and the commitment of all of the Councillors including my colleagues on the Corporate Policy Group in bringing their expertise and analysis to the finalisation of the budget in the challenging circumstances of online meetings."
There is no increase in rates in the 2021 Budget. The Annual Rateable Valuation set in the 2020 Budget, following the periodic countrywide revaluation of rateable properties, resulted in a rates reduction for approximately 77% of ratepayers in Fingal and followed a period of zero nett commercial rates increases in the period 2010 to 2019.
In September, Councillors agreed, for the fourth successive year, to reduce the Local Property Tax by 10% rather than 15% and this has provided an extra €2m in each of the years to be allocated for services that directly improve the areas where citizens live.
“It is a significant amount of money and will mean that by the end of 2021 we will have spent an additional €8m, that we would not have had otherwise on improving the fabric of communities throughout Fingal.” said Fingal County Council Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly.
The €286m Budget can be broken down as follows:
- €80.22m - Housing and Building;
- €30.28m - Road Transport and Safety
- €18.92m - Water Services
- €22.21m - Development Management
- €47.53m - Environmental Protection
- €47.99m - Recreation and Amenity
- €1.34m - Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare
- €37.87m - Miscellaneous Services
The Budget includes provision for a number of roles funded by the National Transport Authority to assist in the delivery of Active Travel infrastructure such as cycleways while there is also a strong commitment to further investment in the Climate Change Action Plan which was launched last year.
The Budget has allowed for increased expenditure on road maintenance, road safety and street cleaning as well as additional provision for the development of Skerries Library and further investment in digital libraries.
Increased funding has also been provided to support the Council’s heritage properties and tourism offerings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while a capital sum of €200,000 has been allocated to the Our Balbriggan project to start building a fund to meet the Council’s match-funding requirement. It is anticipated that this project will be 75% funded by European Union’s Regional Development Fund and the 25% by the Council.
Budgetary provision has also been made for other projects across the county such as the Swords Cultural Quarter and there is also provision for a continued subvention for Draiocht in Blanchardstown. Other sums have been allocated to ensure ongoing maintenance of the housing stock and support non-Council owned Community Centres.
Ms Farrelly added: “The Budget was prepared in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. It allows for the continued provision of key services as well as providing several budget increases. We have also made provision for the possible negative financial impact on the Council following on from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this Budget gives the Council a firm foundation as we navigate through 2021, the pandemic does present a very significant level of uncertainty so the financial impact on the Council will be continually monitored throughout the year.”
A copy of the draft 2021 Annual Budget can be viewed at https://www.fingal.ie/sites/default/files/2020-11/draft-annual-budget-2021.pdf
The Council debate on the 2021 Budget will be available to view at https://fingalcoco.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.