Meath County Councillors adopted the county's biggest ever budget at a meeting yesterday, November 27, which provides for expenditure of over €208.7 million on local public services in 2024, up over €22m (or 12%) on last year and the first time the Council budget has exceeded €200m.
The largest spend in the county next year will be on Housing, taking up 32 percent of the budget. An ongoing challenge is the demand for housing support and the Council plans 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 €9,642,361 has been provided for Housing and Building in Budget 2024.
Transport will see a total increase of €1.7m bringing the total expenditure for 2024 to €55,215,461. Progression of all our major Capital Schemes will continue to be a priority in 2024, with a particular focus on progressing the Strategic Infrastructure Development application for the N2 Slane Bypass and Public Realm Project with An Bord Pleanála. In addition, 14 new outdoor staff will be recruited next year to support the delivery of local services in the municipal districts.
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A total of €3,486,765 has been provided in Budget 2024 for economic development and promotion, which represents an increase of €747,859 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. Fiona Lawless, Meath County Council Chief Executive, said, “The preparation of the 2024 budget is surrounded by great uncertainty with a number of variables not in our control. The key objectives of Budget 2024 are to continue to maintain our key service levels and enhance some essential services, deliver on the objectives of the Government’s Housing for All Policy, address climate change and environmental sustainability within the organisation and in our communities, and a renewed focus on economic development that will expand and maintain a sustainable and viable rate base, into 2024 and beyond.”
Ms. Sheila Harkin, the Council’s Head of Finance, said, “This is the largest budget ever presented to members, with a total increase of over 37% 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 Tommy Reilly added: “The key aim of Budget 2024 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.”