Meath County Councillors have adopted the budget for 2022 which provides for expenditure of over €162 million on local public services, an increase of €7.62 million (4.9%) from 2021.
The 2022 annual budget was adopted by councillors on Monday, November 29 with plans for increased spending across many areas.
The largest spend in the county next year will be on Transportation, taking up almost 30 per cent of the Council’s budget. This includes a new provision made in Budget 2022 for footpaths and footpath repairs in the order of €600,000 which will enable the Council to continue with its risk mitigation programme and in doing so reducing the potential for trips and falls by pedestrians. Budget 2022 will also facilitate an increase in the number of routes added to the Winter Gritting Plan.
Fiona Lawless, the Council’s Head of Finance, said that “this is the largest budget ever presented to members, with a total increase of 38% since the current Council was elected in 2019. This has been possible through a continued focus on maximising the use of resources at our disposal, strong budgetary management processes, and greater effort in securing higher levels of grant funding”.
Housing will see a total increase of €2.6m bringing the total expenditure for 2022 to €46,076,500. An on-going challenge and something that will receive greater resources in 2022 is the maintenance of the Council’s social housing stock and estate management programme. The Council will implement a new preventative maintenance, as well as, the response maintenance programme totalling €6.1m, an additional provision for maintenance of €1,006,785 on last year.
“the key aim of Budget 2022 is to ensure that Meath is best positioned to benefit from a rebounding economy with the potential to grow and prosper, to support economic development, avail of future investment, address the county’s housing needs, foster sustainable and resilient communities and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.” Cllr. Damien O’Reilly said.
An additional €100,000 is being made available in Budget 2022 to assist in the establishment of a regional energy bureau. Part of the energy bureau’s role will be to provide energy management services to the Council to help it meet its energy targets. A further €100,000 is being provided for a new energy assessment of all Council buildings and facilities, which will provide essential baseline data to assist in accessing SEAI grant funding for future works to improve energy performance.
Presenting the budget, Jackie Maguire, Meath County Council Chief Executive, said “the preparation of the 2022 budget is surrounded by great uncertainty with a number of variables not in our control. The key aim of Budget 2022 is to enhance service levels, support local communities as they deal with the consequences of the pandemic, to protect our rate base and support the resilience of the local economy”.