Mixed reaction to the €268m council budget

By Maurice Garvey

ELECTED members for South Dublin County Council voted to adopt Budget 2021 which provides for approximately €268m in expenditure on service provision, an increase of nearly 5 per cent on the 2020 budget.

As in previous years, the bulk of the council’s budget will be spent on housing and building, with a total expenditure of €95,183,900 being ringfenced for these works in 2021 and over €15m for the maintenance and re-letting works for nearly 10,000 homes.

Houses aerial

Across all project types, investment of €430,000,000 in housing is expected in projects due to commence next year.

Up to €300k has again been provided for the Climate Action Innovation Fund while €250k has been included for the upkeep of cycle lanes.

During 2021, the council will also commence construction of the Tallaght Innovation Quarter, including the new €14m Innovation Centre.

The Draft Budget for 2021 provides for a total expenditure of € 268,019,900 and anticipates income of €130,796,200 from a range of services and sources including rents, fees, charges, loan repayments, grants and recoupments. The balance totalling €137,223,700 will be funded from a combination of commercial rates and local property tax.

Specific budgetary provisions were made for a number of other initiatives, including the continuation of the €1m Business Support Fund, €500k to fund landscape improvements on the N81, €650k for Community Development Grants, and the planting of 2,500 trees across the county in 2021.

Daniel McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, said: “The Budget as presented, while mindful of current circumstances, is positive in the context of the plans to support businesses and communities during this difficult time.

“Substantial plans for immediate investment in physical and social infrastructure will serve the local economy well during construction and society well for decades to come. The delivery of these services and the design and development of these projects have continued in as normal a way as possible by our tremendously dedicated staff.”

Cllr Madeleine Johansson (PBP-Sol) said a proposed amendment by the party to increase rates by 50 per cent for rate payers paying over €500 000 (affecting 0.4% of rate payers and raising approximately €20.6 million in revenue), was defeated by the ruling group of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party.

“Instead a proposal to increase rents for some council tenants was voted in by the ruling group. The 10 per cent increase in rents will affect all households whose total net income is above the current social housing income threshold.”

Cllr Madeleine Johansson said this “penalises households living in overcrowded conditions with multiple adults working.”

Cllr William Carey (SF) contends the average earnings of those affected by the increase was €23,285 per annum and blasted it as a “retrograde step in the battle against poverty.”

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