Meath County Councillors have adopted the budget for 2023 which provides for expenditure of over €186 million on local public services, an increase of over €24m (or 14.8%) on last year’s budget.
Councillors adopted the annual budget for 2023 at a meeting on Monday, November 28 with plans for increased spending across many headings.
The largest spend in the county next year will be on Housing, taking up almost 30 per cent of the Council’s budget. An on-going challenge is the demand for housing support, the Council plan to utilise several delivery mechanisms including advance purchase arrangements of un-commenced developments, cost rental schemes with AHBs, Part V agreements and LIHAF funding to meet these ongoing challenges. Overall, an additional €9,290,122 has been provided for Housing and Building in Budget 2023.
Transport will see a total increase of €5.6m bringing the total expenditure for 2023 to €53,512,508. All major Capital Schemes will be a priority in 2023, with particular focus on completing constructions including phase 3 of the Navan 2030 Scheme. 2023 will also see the launch of two ‘Pathfinder’ schemes which will trial innovative projects with the potential to have a transformative effect on public transport and cycling in County Meath.
As part of its commitment to revitalise county towns and villages, the Council will undertake targeted action to mitigate against a decline of Meath towns and villages and to support economic recovery. A total of €2,738,906 has been provided in Budget 2023 for economic development and promotion, which represents an increase of €602,531 on last year’s budget. The Council will continue to capitalise on other Government supported schemes that are available including Town and Village Renewal, URDF and RRDF to further enhance our towns and villages and improve the living and working environment of their communities.
Presenting the budget, Ms. Jackie Maguire, Meath County Council Chief Executive, said “The preparation of the 2023 budget is surrounded by great uncertainty with a number of variables not in our control. The key objectives of Budget 2023 are to continue to maintain our key service levels and enhance some essential services, address climate change and environmental sustainability within the organisation and in our communities, support the local economy and maintain a sustainable and viable rate base and to continue to make all matters relating to Housing Services a priority”.
Ms. Fiona Lawless, the Council’s Head of Finance, said that “this is the largest budget ever presented to members, with a total increase of 30% 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”.
The Cathaoirleach, Cllr Nick Killian added “the key aim of Budget 2023 is to ensure that Meath continues to be best positioned 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 an ever-changing climate.”