Meath County Councillors have adopted the budget for 2020 which provides for expenditure of over €139 million on services next year, an increase of €15million from 2019.
Councillors adopted the annual budget for 2020 at a meeting on Monday afternoon with plans for increased spending across a number of areas.
The largest spend in the county next year will be on Transportation, taking up 30 per cent of the Council 2020 budget. This includes an additional €350,000 towards roads maintenance in the county, an additional €200,000 on public lighting and traffic signals and an increase of €140,000 for street cleaning, parks and open spaces. The Council is also committing to a more comprehensive winter gritting programme, with an additional €200,000 initially, so that by 2024 the gritting programme will covering 100% of the county’s regional roads.
The biggest increase in the Budget is for Housing with a total increase of €4.8 million bringing the total expenditure for 2020 to €32,195,528. This will ramp-up investment in housing and ongoing operations, including stock maintenance and tenancy services.
Increased funds are also being made available for improving the recreational and amenity services that the Council provides, including an additional investment of €200,000 in the county’s libraries.
Given the increased focus on climate change and environmental issues more generally, the Council’s spend on its Climate Action Strategy, to help the county adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, will increase by 44% to €420,000 in 2020. To complement this, enhanced environmental initiatives with resources in excess of €3m will aim to encourage more effective waste management practices, including maintaining the reduced entry fees in the Council’s recycling centres.
The Council will also continue to implement its economic development strategy, which is proving to be successful in supporting job creation and attracting investment into the county. The Council’s Local Enterprise Office, which supports local businesses, will have over €1 in Budget 2020;
Presenting the budget, Jackie Maguire, Meath County Council Chief Executive, said: “This is a very positive budget for Meath and the increased investment in the county has been achieved without any increases in our charges, the local property tax or commercial rates over the last six years”.
Fiona Lawless, the Council’s Head of Finance, said that “this position and has been possible through a continued focus on maximising the use of resources at our disposal, strong budgetary management processes, increased income in a number of service areas and greater effort in securing higher levels of Central Government grant funding.”
The Cathaoirleach, Cllr Wayne Harding in highlighting that the Council will spend €713.14 per person in Meath in 2020 pointed out “that Meath County Council embodies ‘doing more with less’. The Council continues to have the lowest revenue expenditure per capita of any local authority in the State but we continue to provide excellent public services.”