A breakdown on how Donegal County Council proposes to spend €155 million in 2021
Donegal County Council will spend the equivalent of €975 for every person in the county in 2021.
That was one of the stand out figures to emerge from what was one of the most low key annual council budget meetings for at least 20 years.
The meeting, which was held in Letterkenny's Aura Leisure Centre on Wednesday, also agreed to strike the commercial rate at €71.81 for county and former town council areas of Letterkenny and Bundoran for 2021 meaning no general increases in rates for 2021.
A rate of €58.29 for the former town council area of Buncrana for 2021 was also agreed.
The council will spend €875,094 more next year compared to 2020 with reductions in three areas: housing and building, water services and environmental services.
Only one councillor, independent member, Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, objected to the 85-page document with the 36 others all lending support to the measures earmarked for the next 12 months.
Concerns about the continuing impact of Covid-19 and the possible challenges that will be presented by Brexit also featured in the budget document and in the contributions from officials and councillors at the meeting which lasted just over two hours.
Welcoming the outcome of the near unanimous support for the €155,285,723 budget, cathaoirleach, Cllr Rena Donaghey, said its adoption meant there will be no general increases in commercial rates for 2021 with this equating to an average daily spend of €425,440, or €975 for every person in the county over the course of the year.
“This has been one of the most difficult years with Covid-19. It has impacted our lives in a way that was unimaginable nine months ago. It has had a catastrophic financial impact on the vast majority of businesses in the State and 2020 will as a year live long in our collective memories,” she said.
She acknowledged the extensive work done by council staff and county councillors during the various engagements on developing this budget.
She also acknowledged the support and assurance provided to the council by central Government and particularly Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue TD, to cover Covid-19 related costs and losses both in 2020 and 2021.
She said Covid-19 had made it a very tough year for many families and businesses in Donegal, Ireland and across the world but their €155.3m budget in 2021 would reach all corners of the county and will be spent on goods and services provided by many local suppliers and companies.
“The work done by the council all year and the many supports provided to businesses through the council have helped the whole community to get through a very difficult year.”
She reminded members of the Council’s Community Helpline 1800 928 982 for those facing difficulties as present where you will be put in touch with someone who can help.
“The adopted budget is in the sum of €155.3 million and covers the council’s day-to-day spending. The Three-Year Capital Budget will be considered separately next week and is in addition to the Revenue Budget adopted today,” she said.
2021 Budget Highlights
. Repeating the expenditure provisions for road maintenance and works to council houses – budget headings that were increased in recent years
2. The implementation of the long awaited MICA defective concrete block scheme
3. The introduction of a €700,000 fund for 2021 to develop tourism infrastructure and to help prime the tourism and hospitality sector to take advantage of the type of demand experienced during the 2020 summer period, with a particular emphasis on attracting staycationing visitors to the county
4. The capacity to co-finance a number of important capital investment projects across the county, including Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) and Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) projects, and the likes of Swan Park and the Inishowen Innovation digital hub in Buncrana.
5. The creation of a dedicated Greenways Development Team to bring forward shovel-ready greenway projects including the one from Buncrana to Carndonagh which will connect to the Derry to Buncrana route
6. A range of economic development measures across the county including initiatives to attract inward investment, promote Donegal products and services, and provide supports to existing businesses and start-ups
7. The introduction of a €100,000 Special Biodiversity Initiative, with a focus on addressing the actions of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
8. Maintaining the council’s support for leisure centres, theatres, ferry services, cultural facilities, parks and open spaces, and flagship tourism destinations
9. Additional money to co-fund housing adaption and mobility improvements in houses to provide for €2.5m of works.
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