Having successfully delivered balanced budgets for the last number of years despite a major reduction in funding, Budget 2016 provides for expenditure totalling €166.6m and allows for increased service levels across a range of departments and services.
More specifically, the budget includes:
* The reduction of the maximum 15% allowable to the basic rate of Local Property Tax in 2016 – reducing the average liability from €675 to €573.75, a saving of €101.25 per property
* No increase in the level of Commercial Rates
* An increase of €250,000 for housing maintenance contracts which will be used mainly to fund an annual boiler replacement programme
* In excess of €2m extra funding available for the Homeless Service budget. It is expected that 60% of this will be matched with an increase in central government funding for the service.
* €312,500 additional funding provided for road and footpath restoration and improvement works
* In addition to the continuation of our Business Support Grants, Shop Front Grants and the Vacant Premises incentive scheme an additional €195,000 has been provided to fund initiatives and events designed to increase footfall in commercial areas countywide
The Council prides itself on the quality of its public realm and the cultural and recreational facilities we provide for our residents, businesses and visitors. For the first time in a number of years, Budget 2016 allows for increased expenditure in this area. Initiatives in this area include:
* Increase of €462,500 in the maintenance budget for our flagship parks and open spaces (widely regarded as some of the finest in the Country)
* €120,000 additional funding for the maintenance of our many playgrounds and playing pitches
* The provision of funding for a small number of additional staff required to ensure the maximum potential of dlr LexIcon is achieved
* Additional funding for a new Visual Artist in Residence Programme
An Cathaoirleach Councillor Barry Saul welcomed the 2016 budget being agreed by the Council and stated “I am particularly pleased that we were able to hold rates at their existing levels while also increasing front-line services and also that the citizens of the County benefitted from the 15% reduction in property tax. The adoption of the Budget reflects the Council's commitment to shaping and promoting a smart vibrant county which is attractive, inclusive and accessible to all."