Tartu's budget is expected to increase by €16 million next year which will see wage increases for teachers, cultural and social workers, as well as focusing on schools and improving living and business environments.
The City Government of Tartu has submitted the draft budget for 2020 to the City Council of Tartu, which totals €208.1 million.
The focus of next year's budget are schools and nursery schools, a better living and business environment, and preparations for the Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture programme.
"Energy efficient and convenient public transportation, secure connecting roads in the form of the Riia Street viaduct and tunnels, and several cycle and pedestrian tracks, the renewal of streets in the heart of the city, the thorough renovation of street lighting in Annelinn, improved access and better parking conditions in the vicinity of the nine storey buildings of Mõisavahe," were cited by Mayor Urmas Klaas as examples of many of the investments affecting the residents of Tartu and development of the living environment.
The mayor noted that educatin expenditures amount to 51 percent of the city's budget. In total, €14 million in investments are planned. "The city will continue implementing the school renovation plan – on Sept. 1, 2020, the city's largest school, the entirely renovated Annelinn Upper Secondary School will open its doors – and design work on the Kroonuaia School will begin. The Pääsupesa Nursery School and group rooms at several nursery schools will be renovated," said the mayor.
The focus in the social and health fields will be support for growing old in a dignified manner, improving the living conditions of disabled people, and developing lifesaving capabilities for residents.
Home care will be increased, preparations will be made for the construction of the Nõlvaku Nursing Home, and a strategic document for aging in a dignified manner will be prepared.
In addition, the number of dwellings of disabled people to be adapted to suit their residents' needs will be greater than originally planned. In the same way, approximately 1,300 students from the graduating classes of Tartu's basic schools will receive lifesaving first aid training. The city will build two social housing buildings on Tüve Street.
Preperations for the city becoming 2024 European Capital of Culture and preparations for the programme have be factored into the budget. Preparations for the cultural centre project in the heart of the city will also continue. In order to create better opportunities for city residents to enjoy athletic and recreational activities, construction of the Annemõisa indoor football hall will begin, along with the construction of a new playground and athletic field in Annelinn. Together with the construction of the barge workshop, the shoreline of the Emajõgi River will be revitalised, a press release said.
The city will continue to build cycle and pedestrian tracks. The cycle and pedestrian track in the direction of Vaksali Street – Estonian University of Life Sciences – Waldorf School and the Rahinge-Ilmatsalu cycle and pedestrian track will be completed. In the city centre, repairs to Vanemuise and Ülikooli streets will continue and work will begin on the construction of the Riia Highway viaduct and tunnels.
Additional investments will be made to develop the Smart Bike Share system, which has been very well received by city residents. Greater attention will be paid to the city's green areas and parks, for which maintenance plans will be prepared. The city will also support the development of community-based city gardening.
A wage increase is also planned for school teachers, nursery schools, cultural and social workers.
Next year's budget will grow by €16 million, or more than 8 percent in comparison with the city's initial budget for 2019.
Editor: Helen Wright