Higher budget for fast-growing Vilnius: EUR 583.2 million
Vilnius City Council is starting its deliberations on its key issue – budget for growing Vilnius. The planned budget for growing Vilnius is higher compared to the preceding year; revenues are expected to increase to EUR 552.0 mln. (17.6 % higher), appropriations – EUR 583.2 mln. (14.2 % higher).
390.9 million planned for autonomous municipal tasks (16.5 % up on previous year). The earmarked grants should amount to EUR 158.7 million, EU funds – EUR 2.4 million. The budget will obviously benefit in the course of the year from the state subsidies and EU support.
“I see a few very clear priorities in this year’s budget. First of all, it is investment in education and education quality initiatives helping our children to get ready for the brisk future. Secondly, acceleration of improvements in infrastructure, including public spaces, pedestrian and bicycle paths, streets, new buses and the lighting. My aspiration is to make Vilnius the brightest capital in the northern Europe in a few years’ time. Thirdly, major projects, such as the National Pool in Lazdynai and the construction of another pool in Fabijoniškės, as well as preparations for the implementation of the projects of the National Stadium in Šeškinė and the National Concert Hall on Taurus Hill. And also the implementation of city innovations and smart technologies across all the fields”, says Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.
This year, the budget pays special attention to educational needs and initiatives aimed at bringing up the quality of education, as well as the renovation of schools and nurseries, the construction of new educational institutions and the construction of modular nurseries, which will require overall about EUR 271.7 million. The modular nurseries, as part to the existing nurseries, are expected to provide about 900 new places for children, and another 1 120 new places will be created through the construction of 4 new nurseries in Žemynos St. 2c, Bajoru kelias 10, Pajautos/Karaliaučiaus St. and I. Kanto/Karaliaučiaus St.
In 2018, the municipality will pay an additional EUR 150 for the educators in the nurseries and EUR 100 for pre-primary education teachers (the overall allocation last year amounted to EUR 1.8 million).
Vilnius investments are expected to grow in 2018 to EUR 65 million. Besides, they will be complemented annually by grants from the state budget and EU funds. Priority investment projects in Vilnius include the modernization of schools and nurseries, the construction of new schools, two new swimming pools, sports halls as part of schools, the Neris and Vilnia coastal arrangement and development of environmentally friendly public transport.
Street repairs, paving of gravel roads and inhabited garden streets, pedestrian and bicycle paths, new playgrounds for children, neighbourhood programme, urban management, public transport, sustainable mobility and road safety, urban infrastructure development will require this year EUR 132.7 million.
To have a safe, bright and comfortable city, these funds will provide in 2018 for 35 km of new bicycle paths, new underground waste containers, 130 new security cameras in the city, a new, modern street lighting (in Vingis park, Liepkalnio, Vileišio, J. K. Chodkevičiaus, Lukiškių streets, T. Kosciuškos square, 62 pedestrian crossings with directional illumination.
Public transport will continue its upgrading in 2018: 41 new trolleybus will be added to the 250 new buses fleet, 3 km of new A bus lanes will be arranged, along with 3 new Park&Ride facilities. Apps m.Ticket and m.Parking will be upgraded.
The allocation for city development stands at EUR 2.9 mln. The priorities: modification of the master plan, Old Town revival programme, architectural tenders, latest programmes “I build Vilnius” and the “Neighbourhoods”.
The allocation for social security is 22.2 % higher compared to previous year – i.e. EUR 56.8 million. This year, we have decided to increase salaries for social workers and family physicians. The municipality has proposed to contribute to the so called “patient’s basket” comprised of a flat rate for the patients who have enrolled for medical care in a specific medical facility, and a variable rate that depends on the incentive services provided. The municipality can influence the flat rate, increasing it by about one third. The raise in salaries for family physicians, paediatricians, therapists and nurses will require about EUR 4 million from the municipal budget.
The highest revenue share is projected this year from personal income tax (PIT) – EUR 289.2 million (18.5 % up against the previous year). Property taxes (land, RE, etc.) are projected to bring in about EUR 43 mln. The municipality has decided to conclude at least 50 % of RE lease agreements for a higher rate, to oblige owners to legalise the ownership of real estate in the city, to recognise more and more neglected RE as a municipal property.
The budget has finally been returned to the citizens – from the beginning of the term to the present time, a further successful reduction of Vilnius debt is expected, in 2018, it is planned to cover about EUR 36.8 million loans and restructured debt to banks, and EUR 28 million are planned to cover the outstanding for various services and jobs.
This year, everyone can submit their draft budgets – Vilnius residents are welcome to submit their priorities when the municipality plans spending in 2018.
The website: www.vilnius.lt/biudzetas welcomes public comments, remarks and proposals as regards the areas and facilities that need most attention from the local authorities to be worked on this year. The draft budget made up on the basis of public proposals will be later presented to the Vilnius City Council.