It is an increase of €32m from 2019 and is the equivalent of €911 per head of population. The 2020 Budget will enable the Council to continue managing the on-going demands of the fast-growing and youngest county in Ireland.
The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien said: “The budget process began as soon as the new Council came together in June and I want to acknowledge the work done by my colleagues on the Corporate Policy Group as well as the staff in the different sections of the Council. Despite the challenges we faced we have still been able to provide for a modest increase in services which shows that Fingal County Council is a well-run and prudently-managed Council.”
Almost €5m has been ring-fenced for additional investment in local services such as street cleaning, parks maintenance and other operational activities as well as housing and homelessness. This sum includes the €2m raised by the decision by councillors in September to only reduce the Local Property Tax by 10%.
At the Budget meeting, councillors decided to apply a 40% refund on vacant commercial properties to provide funding for a number of areas including Climate Action projects and parking enforcement.
“This is the third year that our councillors agreed not to reduce the Local Property Tax by the maximum 15% and that has allowed us to spend an extra €2m per year on services that directly improve the areas where our citizens live,” said Fingal County Council Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly. “It is a significant amount of money and will mean that by the end of 2020 we will have spent an additional €6m, that we would not have had otherwise, on a variety of improvement works in our towns and villages.”
An additional €200k has been set aside in the Budget to provide support for remedial works to community facilities which are not in the Council’s ownership. This is in response to issues which have been highlighted by councillors in recent months.
Three key core objectives have been set out in the 2020 Budget. The main priority is to continue investment in the Housing and Community areas as well as maintaining service delivery and continuing to develop the economic and community plan for Fingal which supports job creation, tourism and sustainable communities.
The €269m Budget can be broken down as follows:
- €73.6m - Housing and Building;
- €28.6m - Road Transport and Safety
- €18.5m - Water Services
- €24m - Development Incentives and Controls
- €47.7m - Environmental Protection
- €45.2m - Recreation and Amenity
- €1.1m - Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare
- €31.0m - Miscellaneous Services
The 2020 Budget has allowed for increases in several key areas across the Council. This increased expenditure provides for significant investment in the County and builds on the investment made in previous budgets.
There will be an
increase in the funding of capital improvement works in the social housing stock as well as additional funding for traveller estate improvement works. There is also an increase in housing adaptation grants.
The Budget allows for increases across several areas within Operations including road maintenance, public lighting, traffic management and street cleaning. There is also additional funding of €200k for costs under the Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2024.
A capital provision of €2m has been provided towards the funding of the Swords Cultural Quarter. This underscores the Council’s commitment to this key flagship project to deliver a County Library and Arts Facility in Swords. These is also more funding for heritage properties and expansion of events activities.
Ms Farrelly said: “It is vital that as the County continues to grow and that the services, infrastructure and facilities provided by the Council keep pace with this. This is reflected in the 2020 Budget and also our three-year Capital Programme 2020-2022 where we are committed to spending a further €619m on 236 individual projects across the county.”
The recent rates revaluation carried out by the Valuation Office has resulted in a rates reduction for 77% of rate-payers in Fingal. The revaluation process has created a financial risk for the Council around a possible reduction in rates income arising out of the appeals process. In order to mitigate this, the Council has a reserve of €21.8m in the 2020 Budget to provide for this risk in the future. This reserve is funded by a combination of the Council’s own resources and a mechanism in the Rates Limitation Order which allows for the inclusion of an amount to mitigate against future rates income losses. The Council has created this reserve without impinging or reducing services to the public.
A copy of the draft 2020 Annual Budget can be viewed at https://www.fingal.ie/council/service/annual-budget
The Council debate on the 2020 Budget can be viewed at https://fingalcoco.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/451730
NOTE TO EDITOR
Fingal County Council
Fingal County Council is the Local Authority for the administrative county of Fingal. Fingal is located to the north of Dublin City and is also bordered by South County Dublin, Meath and Kildare, and to the east by the Irish Sea. The county covers an area of c. 448 sq. km. Fingal has a population of 296,214, making it the third most populous local authority area in the country. Fingal is Ireland’s fastest growing county having seen its population grow by 8.1 per cent since 2011 and almost double over a 25 year period, from 152,766 in 1991 to 296,214 in 2016. Fingal’s significant economic advantages includes Dublin Airport, fast access to Dublin Port, rail, road, power and telecommunications infrastructure and the availability of serviced and unserviced land for development. Proximity to Dublin city centre and its location on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor, ensures continued future growth for Fingal.
The Budgetary Process
The budgetary process is a statutory process, undertaken annually by all local authorities.
The process defines the income and expenditure for the Council for the coming year.
Budgetary policy is determined in consultation with elected members, officials and with consideration to the estimates of funding available through the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and in particular the Local Property Tax allocation. There is also a public consultation process in relation to the Local Property Tax.
The elected members of Fingal County Council have a number of key functions in relation to the budgetary process.
- Adoption of the Budget
Members may adopt the Budget with or without amendment and must approve the sums provided for transfer to the Capital Account
- Local Property Tax
The Members have the power to vary the Local Property Tax Rate (Local Adjustment Factor) by plus / minus 15 per cent. This is decided at the September meeting of the Council.
- Commercial Rates
Members decide on the determination of Annual Rateable Valuation which decides the Commercial Rate which is charged to local businesses.
- Rates on Vacant Properties
The members also have the power to determine the proportion of rates refunds which will apply to vacant commercial properties.
For further information contact [email protected]