LIMERICK City and County Council members have passed the local authority budget for 2022, which promises a €5m increase in spend.
Members met today at the Millennium Theatre in the Technological University of the Shannon's Moylish campus.
Here, they agreed what has been described as a "prudent budget for uncertain times."
Among the measures passed are €378.5m for capital projects, plus a special focus on climate action, public realm and sustainable active travel.
Crucially, for Limerick's hard-pressed business community, there will be no increase in the commercial rate, a property-based charge levied on firms.
And supports for small traders will also be retained going into the New Year, with €3.97m set for the Local Enterprise Office.
In total, revenue of €952.23m was approved by members, with the vast majority, €749.23m, reserved for the Housing Assistance Payment shared service centre which is run locally on behalf of Ireland's 31 local authorities.
Some €8.5m is earmarked for housing maintenance, Traveller and estate management, with €14.7m going to the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing.
Almost €50m is to be spent on local, regional, primary and secondary roads, plus public lighting, road safety and traffic management.
The Fire service is getting €11.4m, councillors have agreed.
A total of €3.8m is set aside for street cleaning and tackling illegal dumping, and the maintenance of parks is to see spend of €2.6m.
Earlier this year, councillors voted to raise the Local Property Tax by 15% above the base rate, ensuring that council has an extra €2.36m in its 2022 budget.
This is being ring-fenced to support a range of measures, including the fire service and library (€442,000), traffic management, roads and street cleaning (€768,000) and capital investment for local services (€400,000).
Council boss Dr Pat Daly 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.”
“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.”
Limerick City and County Council 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 yearhttps://t.co/hTmz2vpO3Q— Limerick Council (@LimerickCouncil) November 26, 2021
“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," he said.
The revenue budget works in tandem with the capital budget of €378.5 million.
Among the projects earmarked for funding next year in this are the renovation of derelict homes, the revitalisation of O'Connell Street, plus other high-profile infrastructure projects, including the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Road, the Cork to Limerick motorway and the Foynes to Limerick link.
Flood relief projects will also be prioritised, as will the upgrade to the Askeaton swimming pool.
Money is also being set aside to develop playgrounds at Caherdavin and Corbally.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.