LIMERICK City and County Council says it plans to maintain services at existing levels following adoption of the 2022 budget, which will see a slight increase in day-to-day spending next year.
A total revenue budget of €952.23 million was approved by councillors after a robust debate in the Millennium Theatre, TUS Moylish Campus on Friday, November 26.
The majority of the budget (€749.23 million) is for HAP Shared Services, which Limerick runs on behalf of the 31 local authorities, with the remaining €203m allocated to day-to-day services for the citizens of Limerick.
With the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic still casting a shadow over society as a whole, Limerick City and County Council has pledged to deliver the same high quality service to the people of Limerick in 2021 as previously.
Budgets for the key areas include:
- Housing Maintenance, Traveller and Estate Management – €8.5m
- Rental Accommodation Scheme/ Leasing – €14.7m
- Local and Regional, Primary and Secondary Roads, Public Lighting, Road Safety and Traffic Management – €47m
- Limerick Fire & Rescue Service -€11.4m
- Street Cleaning and Illegal Dumping – €3.8m
- Grass Cutting/ Trees and Horticulture, Maintenance of Parks – €2.6m
- Local Enterprise Office – supports for the micro and SME sectors – €3.97m
As part of measures to support business, there will be no change in the commercial rate. “This decision recognises the uncertainty and hardships of the business community due to continuing Brexit issues and challenges faced by businesses due to Covid-19 restrictions,” said a local authority spokesperson.
The following schemes operated by Limerick City and County Council to support businesses are being retained:
- Small and Medium Business Support Scheme
- Tourism Sector Support Scheme
- Vacant Property Allowance Scheme
- Business and Retail Incentive Scheme
Earlier in the year, councillors voted to increase the Local Property Tax by 15 per cent above the base rate.
Additional funding of €2.36 million is being ring-fenced to support:
- Local & Regional Roads / Traffic Management / Street Cleaning – €768,000
- Other Local Services (e.g. Fire / Library etc.) – €442,000
- Capital Investment in New Plant to Deliver Efficient Local Services – €400,000
- Urban and Rural Regeneration Fund – €550,000
- General Municipal Allocation – €200,000
Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council said: “It has been a tough twelve months for everyone, particularly our business community who have had to operate within the severe restrictions that we have all learned to live with. After suffering a very sharp fall in activity in 2020, the Limerick economy commenced its recovery in 2021 as we began to open up from COVID-19.”
“The budget proposes no increase in the Annual Rate of Valuation for commercial rate payers. It is proposed to retain the business schemes to support many key sectors in our economy.”
“This budget will help with the Council’s commitment to reduce emissions as part of the government’s plan for climate action. All directorates in the Council will be involved in achieving targets in the Climate Action Plan.”
“Budget 2022 will actively see further engagement with our communities, it will address enhancing quality of life for our citizens while supporting new public realm projects and programmes across the city and county in our libraries, galleries and museums.”
He continued: “It will also continue to focus on dereliction, vacancy and the delivery of public realm improvements that will animate our public spaces and support place-making activity.”
“The budget will also help us to deliver on targets set out across the four pathways in the Housing for All plan to enable us to improve our own social housing stock, tackling homelessness and supporting the Regeneration programme.”
The revenue budget works in tandem with the capital budget of €378.5 million.
Among the projects earmarked for funding next year include:
- Housing construction, renovating derelict homes across Limerick
- Public Realm projects including O’Connell Street Revitalisation
- Major infrastructure projects – Coonagh to Knockalisheen Road, N/M 20 Cork to Limerick, Foynes to Limerick road and the two N21 schemes in Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale
- Flood Relief projects
- Feasibility of Limerick Greenway extension
- Askeaton Pool and Leisure Facilities Upgrade
- Town and Village Renewal
- Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme; Development of Playgrounds at Caherdavin and Corbally
- Sustainable and Active Travel projects
- Climate Action Initiatives
You can view the budget here.