Dublin’s councils expected to spend almost €1.7bn next year

by Gazette Reporter

Losses due to Covid-19 will continue to be felt by the four Dublin councils who have collectively approved budgets totalling almost €1.7bn for next year.

Dublin City Council will freeze commercial rates at 2020 levels after councillors approved a spend of €1.079bn, with €213m allocated for homeless services.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan had advised councillors not to increase rates “in order to support businesses in 2021, in what will undoubtedly be a difficult year”.

He said it was “most important that Dublin returns to work at the earliest possible time to bring our economy back on track, with all the economic, financial, social and health benefits that the working environment brings.”

Nine out of ten city businesses were entitled to a rates waiver this year with the Government paying rates on their behalf during the pandemic.

Total losses and costs to the council’s revenues directly due to the ongoing pandemic are expected to exceed €33m in 2021 – down from €42m this year.

DCC expects costs associated with managing the pandemic to top €11m in 2021 and the loss of income to reach almost €22m.

Parking meter collections are forecast to drop by more than €12m while tolls from the East Link bridge are expected to be down €1.9m.

Fingal County Council has adopted a budget of €286m for 2021 – €966.78 per head of population – which it says will ensure services are maintained next year.

It will not increase rates and the bulk of the funding will go on housing (€80m) with e48m for environmental protection, €48m for amenities, €30m for roads, €19m for water services and €22m for development management.

The budget factors in the Swords Cultural Quarter project and there is also provision for a continued subvention for Draiocht arts centre in Blanchardstown. The impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry has prompted concerns that FCC will be left with a significant shortfall due to loss of commercial rates from Dublin Airport.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is the largest rate-payer in Fingal and if the Government subsidy scheme ends that will impact the council’s coffers.

In Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, councillors adopted a 2021 budget of €211m to provide its 700-plus services to residents and businesses.

The council did not vote to reduce Local Property Tax next year, arguing that the €7.8m of additional income is needed to offset losses associated with Covid-19.

South Dublin County Council voted to adopt a budget of €268m, with construction of the Tallaght Innovation Quarter, including the new e14m innovation centre, due to start in 2021.

SDCC also plans to start on ambitious housing projects worth €430m in the next 12 months and aims to complete Lucan Leisure Centre in “late summer 2021”.

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