Budget 2020 soars to almost €256 million

By Brendan Grehan

LAST week, the Elected members of South Dublin Count Council voted to accept the Budget for 2020 of approximately €256m, an increase of 5 per cent on the 2019 budget.

The budget for 2020 provides for a total expenditure of €255,755,400 and antici-pates income of €118,807,400 from a range of services and sources, including rents, fees, charges, loan repayments, grants and recoupments.

budget compressor

Sean Walsh Park

 

The balance of €136,948,000 will be funded from a combination of commercial rates and local property tax.

Housing and Building forms the biggest tranche of the budget with €86,980,400 in expendi-ture.

 

Recreation and Amenity comes next with €44,209,900. Environ-mental services get €38,221,700 and expend-iture on Road Transport and Safety will be €32,893,000.

€20,208,000 is allocated to Develop-ment Management and €13,689,300 will be spent on water services.

In Housing, the Homeless budget is €3,800,000, while €2,500,000 has been allocated to pre-let repairs.

The planned maintenance programme gets an extra €1,000,000. Private rental inspections will increase from 2,446 in 2019 to 3,262 in 2020. An extra €100,000 has been allocated for estate management.

In relation to Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development the council said there must be a focus on job retention and creation.

Just under €1.4m has been set aside for Tourism promotion of which €750,000 will go to the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Clondalkin Village Centre will get €300,000 for greening and landscape enhancements.

In the sphere of Recreation and Amenity, the council said they have made “good progress”.

There will be 49 play-spaces in the county by year-end. A further €1,000,000 will be allocated for playing pitches in 2020. Architects have been appointed for the design of the North and West Stands of Tallaght Stadium. New Libraries will open in Clondalkin and Tymon in Q1 of 2020. The Lucan Swimming Pool will open in January 2021.

Under Climate Action, €300,000 has been allocated for a Climate Action Innovation Fund, €50,000 will go to prepare a Sustainable Transport Policy.

The council said they are committed to electrifying their fleet of vehicles. Tree-planting will be increased from 1,700 to 2,000. The Public Lighting LED replacement programme will get an extra €500,000. In 2020 the council say they plan to introduce EV charging points at 20 locations in the county.

Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Guss O’Connell said it was the first time in 28 years that he had voted against the budget.

He said: “I did so for three connected reasons. The fact that the Budget provided for a €3 per week rise in Family Rents and the removal of the discount for old age pensioners, the failure of the majority group to accept a Sinn Féin motion to reallocate €90,000 from Twinning and Overseas Council Trips to a special Bursary fund for homeless children to help them participate in third-level education, and, the undemocratic way the Majority group organised the voting.”

Councillor Madeleine Johansson said the budget targets “the most vulnerable in our society”.

She said: It’s absolutely disgraceful that over 1,900 households will face a €13 per week increase in their rent while there’s no increase in rates paid by big business in the county.”

Cllr Kieran Mahon said the budget was “an absolutely shameful attack on local authority tenants”.

His colleague, Cllr Sandra Fay told The Echo: “Solidarity put forward alternative proposals that could have raised over €10m per year by putting additional rates on the top multinationals in the county, with no impact on small companies. This would have raised multiples of any rent increases and given the council extra resources to invest in maintenance, housing and community facilities.”

Councillor Alan Hayes was more positive.

He said; “I voted for the budget because the extra social rents collected will be ringfenced to be spent only on social housing and not diverted to other areas, this was one of the conditions I made very clear before deciding to join the ruling group last June. Rents have not been increased since the 1990s and our county is still one of, if not the lowest rents in  Ireland”.

The Mayor and member of the “Majority Group” of 21 councillors who voted for the budget, Vicki Casserly told The Echo “that the budget builds on progress made in recent years and reflects continuing investment priorities in key areas such as housing, enterprise and employment, climate action and recreation and amenities.”

Cllr Casserly added: “The majority of members, 21 elected members, voted to accept the budget as presented by the directorate.

“It is reflective of all our communities needs. We welcome budget 2020 and will continue to work with residents and directorate for improved service delivery.”.

SDCC budget 2020

Expenditure: €255,755,400

Income: €118,807,400

HOUSING

  • €2,500,000 for Pre-Let repairs.
  • Homeless Budget: €3,800,000.
  • €300,000 for repair of council estate roads.
  • €100,000 for Housing needs assessment.

Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development.

  • €1,000,000 Business Support Fund
  • €1,389,300 for Tourism Promotion.
  • €500,000 for District and Neighbourhood Centres
  • €300,000 for greening and landscape enhancements to Clondalkin Village Centre
  • Recreation, Amenity and Community Development.
  • Play-Space Programme almost complete.
  • €500,000 for Tallaght Stadium.
  • Libraries in Clondalkin and Tymon in Q1 2020.
  • €85,000 for health and well-being.
  • Lucan swimming pool open in January 2021.

Climate Action

  • €300,000 Climate Action Innovation fund.
  • €50,000 for Sustainable Transport Policy.
  • Roll-out of electrification of Council fleet.
  • Extra €500,000 for Public lighting.
  • EV charging points at 20 Locations.
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