INCREASED expenditure and resources for housing, local and regional roads, and public realm maintenance are all among the big pledges as part of Limerick City and County Council’s (LCCC) planned €943million budget spend for 2024.
The Council’s annual budget was signed off on Friday last (November 17) and saw the local authority commit to spending close to €1billion in the coming year. This marks a projected €37million increase on the adopted figure for 2023 in last year’s budget.
While a majority €694million (or 74 per cent) of that spend will go on HAP Shared Services, which LCCC runs on behalf of the 31 Irish local authorities, a representative of the Council said that the remaining €249m will go directly to “day-to-day services for the citizens of Limerick”.
A statement from LCCC said that housing, local and regional roads, and enhanced public services were key pillars of this year’s budget, as well as an enhanced ‘town centre first’ policy focused on the development of resources for Rathkeale town.
The budgetary measures also promised no increases to parking charges, cemetery charges, housing rents, planning fees, fire charges, or fees at the recycling centres.
The vacant property allowance, business and retail incentive, and small and medium business support scemes are also being retained.
On the housing front, €6.6million has been committed to housing grants (an increase of €1.5million on 2023) which the Council say will “provide critical assistance to people in need to help them remain living in their homes”.
The grants include housing adaptation grants for people with disability, mobility aids grant, housing aid for older people, and the disabled person grant.
€42.4m has been allocated to local, regional, primary, and secondary roads (with national roads and motorways falling under the remit of Government), as well as public lighting and road safety.
The rental accommodation scheme has been allocated €27m, while €5m has been dedicated to grass cutting, trees and horticulture, and the maintenance of marks.
Limerick Fire and Rescue Service will benefit from funding of €21.8million – an increase of €3m on last year’s funding.
Street cleaning was allocated an annual budget of €6.4m, including funding for new ‘mini street sweepers’ for rural municipal districts, as well as a city centre public realm maintenance team.
Festival and events in the city saw a commitment of €1.35m.
With the proposed change in the governance of the local authority in 2024 with the introduction of the Directly Elected Mayor (DEM), provision has been included to assist the DEM in the implementation of their program.
Welcoming the agreed 2024 budget, Mayor Gerald Mitchell said that “elected members have once more agreed a budget which, for the people of Limerick, will see existing services protected, allowances for expansion of amenities, and will no doubt strengthen the city and county’s strong foundations for future growth”.
Dr Pat Daly, chief executive of Limerick City and County Council, added: “The demand for services across Limerick continues to grow and this is matched by an increase in public expectation. The budget 2024, which has benefitted from very significant feedback from the elected members in the budget process, has committed to maintain, and in some cases enhance, service delivery. We look forward to 2024 with optimism and excitement for what is to come for Limerick.”