On Tuesday 4th November we agreed the Fingal County Council budget for 2015. While there were aspects I would have liked changed overall I felt it was a progressive budget so I supported and voted for it.
The process really began from the time we were elected in May until our meeting on Tuesday evening. Discussions up to this point had included the debate and the adjustment of the Local Property Tax rate in Fingal. In September we voted to reduce property tax by 15%. Property tax revenue makes up roughly 13% of the overall income for the Council.
The 2015 budget was helped by significant extra income,f €2m from additional commercial rates, €2m additional income from the Local Property Tax and €1m extra income from Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) arrears, as well as savings in spending of €2.1m 2014. Commercial rates which make up 50% of Fingal’s income remain as they were. Commercial rates were cut right through the recession and Fingal rates are still the most favourable in Dublin.
Budget 2015 provides for the following additional funding:
- €3m extra spending on Housing & Building
- €1.75m additional investment directly on housing
- €1.25m extra funding for traffic Calming, local roads, parks & pitches
- €1m for Swords Castle and development of a cultural quarter Swords
- €500,000 upgrade works for Malahide and Newbridge Demesnes
- €500,000 for better public lighting
- €300,000 for better community facilities
- €175,000 for extra events including a St Patricks Day Parade for Dublin 15
- An increase of €900,000 for Homeless services.
I have lobbied for a number of months for an agreed budget for traffic calming and road safety measures and I identified the huge increase in NPPR income as a potential source. There was no budget for traffic calming measures in 2014. The funding will now mean that existing ramps that have been damaged will now be fixed and a total of €400,000 will be made available for road safety and traffic calming throughout the County.
Budgets for recreation and amenities have also increased with an additional €1,280,000 budgeted for parks, pitches and open spaces. An increase of €1,000,000 for recreational development and an additional 1,500,000 for heritage including Swords Castle.