Fingal County Council has adopted a progressive budget for 2018 which will see an increased investment of €11.3m from last year to ensure the Council keeps pace with the increased demands of a county that has the fastest growing and youngest population in Ireland.
The €227m budget specially targets investment in five key areas of the Council’s overall strategy which will ultimately benefit all citizens of Fingal. These are Housing and Homelessness, Economic Development, Services to Citizens, Building Communities and Growing Tourism.
Expenditure on housing and homelessness rises by almost 11 per cent to €61m while the Council’s road works programme will increase by nine per cent to almost €26m. Spending on Economic Development and Tourism will also be up by nine per cent to €21m and there is a five per cent increase in community investment.
The Council’s planned expenditure of €227,268,000 next year will fund its day-to-day operations as well as contributing to the advancement of Fingal’s Capital Programme which will cost €502m over a three year period (2018-2020).
The 2018 Budget represents a spend of €767.25 for every one of the county’s 296,214 citizens and is a major stimulus to the local economy. For every €1 spent by the Council, an additional €1.72 is spent downstream in the economy and this means that the total contribution to economic output is over €0.5 billion. The employment impact is also substantial and for every position directly employed within the council, an additional three jobs are supported as a result. This means that the total employment contribution from Budget 2018 is over 4,000 jobs.
Councillors opted to reduce the basic rate of Local Property Tax (LPT) by 10 per cent at a meeting on September 11 which yielded an extra €1.9m in discretionary income and this has been ringfenced for spending in key areas,
This will see an additional €730,000 being invested in library services, community events and facilities and the arts programme and €500,000 being used to fund the Council’s initiatives to tackle homelessness. A further €113,000 will be spent on the Council’s housing stock, €250,000 will be invested in parks, open spaces and playgrounds with €200,000 going towards additional street lighting and road maintenance. The remaining €116,000 will be spent on tourism promotion and funding for events throughout the county.
For the first time since 2009, Councillors voted to increase Commercial Rates by two per cent. This is the first increase in rates in Fingal since 2009 and follows a number of rate decreases in the early part of this decade. Fingal, which has the highest compliance of rate payment in Ireland at 95.63% for 2016, also retains the distinction of having the lowest rate among the four Dublin Local Authorities.
The rate increase will provide an additional €2.47m in spending for the Council and this too will be ring-fenced for spending across key areas.
There will be an additional €650,000 spent on public lighting, traffic, footpaths and bridge maintenance and a similar amount will be used to fund remedial and refurbishment works on community centres throughout the County. A further €650,000 will used to provide funds for capital works on the Council’s housing stock including heating system upgrades and the replacement of items such as doors and windows.
A further €250,000 will go towards economic development promotion and improvement works at the Dublin Enterprise Zone, while €270,000 is to be spent on refurbishing bottle banks throughout Fingal and improvement works at the Council’s two recycling centres in Coolmine and Swords.
Within the 2018 Budget, a total of €61.1m will be spent on Housing and Building with €42.7m budgeted for Environment and €42.5m for Recreation and Amenity. Road Transportation & Safety will receive €25.8m and Water Services €20.7m while €21.1m has been set aside for Development Incentives and Controls.
Welcoming the adoption of the 2018 Budget by Councillors, who voted by 30 votes to
four in favour, the Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, said: “This is one of the most progressive budgets adopted by any Irish Local Authority and allows the Council to continue to meet the growing demands of having to cater for a county that has the fastest growing and youngest population in the country as well as a rapidly growing local economy. This has brought challenges, such as the housing and homelessness crisis, but the extra funding we will obtain from Local Property Tax and Commercial Rates has allowed us to increase our spending by over five per cent and invest more into key areas of our overall strategy.”
Breakdown of the 2018 Budget by key area of expenditure
A copy of the draft 2018 Annual Budget can be viewed at