Elected Members for South Dublin County Council have voted to adopt Budget 2020 which provides for approximately €256 million in expenditure on service provision, an increase of 5% on the 2019 budget. The Draft Budget for 2020 provides for a total expenditure of €255,755,400 and anticipates income of €118,807,400 from a range of services and sources including rents, fees, charges, loan repayments, grants and recoupments. The balance totaling €136,948,000 will be funded from a combination of commercial rates and local property tax.
Specific budgetary provisions include Housing, Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development, Recreation, Amenity and Community Development and Enhanced Service Delivery.
Their comprehensive build, purchase and leasing initiatives under the Capital Programme continue to meet and exceed targets. In the context of current operations, the following new and enhanced measures are in keeping with intention to enhance services where possible, on an ongoing basis:
- Pre-let repairs have been increased by €1,000,000 to €2,500,000
- The homeless budget is now at €3,800,000
- An additional €1,000,000 has been added to the Planned Maintenance Programme to fund the planned and approved acceleration of this programme
- Private rental inspections will again increase from 2,446 in 2019 to a planned 3,262 with an associated budget increase of €130,000
- The €300,000 provision for the repair of council estate roads has been maintained
- In recognition of ongoing estate management challenges, this budget has been increased by €100,000
- Under the planning budget, €100,000 has been provided to undertake a comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment across all tenure types.
Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development
Provision for the current and future generations must include a focus on job retention and creation. In this regard, investment in existing business and future opportunities are provided for including:
- The continuation of the €1,000,000 Business Support Fund
- The provision of €1,389,300 for tourism promotion including €750,000 for the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, including the Dublin Mountains and Rathfarnham projects
- The continued €500,000 annual funding for a programme of works for District and Neighbourhood Centres to be agreed at Area Committee meetings before the year-end
- A specific provision of €300,000 for greening and landscape enhancements to Clondalkin Village Centre
- The continuation of aesthetic improvement works to the N81
- The expansion of the Grange Castle Campus has now been approved by Council and the access road and accompanying infrastructure will be contracted by the year-end
- Having received €14,800,000 in Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF ) funding for Tallaght based projects, the planning and execution of these projects is now progressing well.
Recreation, Amenity and Community Development
The development of social infrastructure in the interests of community integration, health and wellbeing and quality of life is central to our approach to community development. Aim to build on that, with the following additional and enhanced initiatives:
- The Play Space Programme is almost complete and by year-end, the county will have 49 Play Spaces, an increase of 70% since the Programme began. The initial five Teen Space pilots are due for completion over the coming months and a further €500,000 has been provided in 2020 to invest in teen facilities
- The Playing Pitch Capacity Study will be presented to Council by the year-end and a further €1,000,000 has been provided in 2020 for all-weather facilities
- Architects for the design of the North Stand and West Stand enhancements to Tallaght Stadium have been appointed and a further €500,000 is provided in this regard
- New libraries in Clondalkin and Tymon will open in quarter one 2020 and the final site selection for the planned Rathcoole library will be completed with the planning of the associated housing scheme and primary school
- Community funding has been increased by €85,000 to support further health and wellbeing initiatives, while an additional €100,000 has been provided to prepare a comprehensive Local Sports Plan and to kick start its implementation
- Lucan Pool will open in January 2021 and initial marketing funding has been provided in 2020 in recognition of this start date.
In 2019, the Council adopted the inaugural Climate Change Action Plan 2019 – 2024 which provides an opportunity for the Council to clearly illustrate its commitment in this regard, which although ongoing for years, was largely undocumented. A clear Action Plan for 2020 will be published in the near future and clear commitments have been made in the Budget in this context:
- A €300,000 Climate Action Innovation Fund has been provided for
- Funding of €50,000 has been provided to prepare a Sustainable Transport Policy
- Tallaght District Heating Scheme construction works will commence in February 2020.
- We are committed to continuing with the electrification of our fleet
- An additional allocation has been made to increase annual tree planting to 2,000 trees up from the current level of 1,700
- Further areas will be identified to expand our Pollinator Plan Planting Programme.
- An additional €500,000 has been provided to accelerate our Public Lighting LED Replacement Programme. We are actively planning the procurement of the next10,000 replacements which will save 1,126 tonnes of carbon, or 38% of the overall corporate target of 40% by 2030
- Further funding of €200,000 has also been provided to finalise the completion of the Energy Lighting Retrofit Programme in county buildings
- The roll-out of water fountains in the interests of eliminating single-use plastics will continue in 2020
- Early in 2020, we will detail plans for the introduction of EV charging points at 20 locations in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Enhanced Service Delivery
Notwithstanding all of these fine initiatives in the public interest, there remains a continued demand for enhanced service delivery which is augmented by an ever-increasing population. Once again, we have sought to enhance service delivery and front-line services. In addition to initiatives already mentioned, the following additional improvements are also provided for:
- The provision for 16 seasonal workers on grass cutting has been provided for at a cost of €370,000
- An additional €500,000 has been provided to deal with tree management issues
- The street cleaning budget has been increased by €265,000 to increase the frequency of cleaning across all routes
- The footpath repairs provision has been increased by €500,000
- An additional €100,000 has been provided for small works to parks and public realm, while the grass cutting budget is also increased by €96,000
- The public lighting improvements budget has been increased by €500,000 aforementioned above
- A specific provision of €100,000 has been made to fund heritage restoration projects
- The fire service budget has been increased by €1,000,000
- The 300k Have Your Say provision has again been made.
Daniel McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, said,
“The Budget as presented is particularly positive in the context of the available funding and while more needs to be done, it is a true reflection of our corporate objectives and the wishes of the public as expressed through our elected representatives.”