Tallinn city government officially adopted its budget for 2022 after a vote at the city council chambers Tuesday. The budget surpasses the one-billion-euro mark for the first time.
City council chair Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said that next year's city budget will result in several, positive changes, with the priority being: "A Convenient and safe urban environment, while the budget also pays attention to the implementation of the green transition and the climate plan as well as to improving the learning environment in schools and kindergartens."
"There is great emphasis on renovating kindergartens with altogether nine kindergartens being renovated simultaneously next year while the design works will either begin or continue on 15 more kindergartens. Investments in bicycle lanes and in making streets more pedestrian-friendly are also important," Ossinovski, whose party entered office with Center as the junior coalition partner in Tallinn after the October local elections, continued.
Additional resources for meeting green transition and climate goals, including the installation of solar panels on public buildings, new buses and trams, and support for housing associations in implementing environmentally friendly solutions were also in focus, Ossinovski said.
Tallinn city budget 2022 breakdown (source: BNS):
- The budget's total volume is €1.032 billion, with the planned reserve volume €868.4 million.
- Tax revenues account for 68 percent of the total, while personal income tax constitutes the largest single source of revenue (€556 million).
- Land tax is projected €25.4 million 2022 (unchanged on 2021).
- Revenues from the sale of goods and services by the city's institutions: €90.1 million (9.3 percent more than in the 2021 revised budget).
- Support from the state and other institutions: 1€49.9 million.
- External funding estimated to grow by €14.4 million, to €23.9 million, with the proposed Tallinn hospital one of the major estimates.
- Expenditures were budgeted at €746.7 million.
- Of operational expenditure, 39.1 percent, or a total of €292 million, will be spent on education.
- Urban transport costs will account for 15.2 percent, or €113.3 million in total.
- Expenses on social welfare and health will account for 11.3 percent of total expenditure, totaling €84.3 million .
- Investments in healthcare will increase to €14.4 million , which includes costs related to the design of Tallinn Hospital.
- The largest investment in healthcare next year will be €13.5 million for the preparations for the construction of Tallinn Hospital.
- The design stage of the hospital began this year and the main project is scheduled for completion in early 2024. €2.2 million of the investment is planned from the city budget and €11.3 million from support by the EU.
- In addition, the city will contribute €1.2 million to cover the operating costs of Tallinn Hospital.
- Next year's budget provides for an increase in the pension supplement to €150 per year.
- In order to finance its investments, the city plans to take out a loan of up to €90 million in 2022, which would make the estimated net debt of the city 32.3 percent of the operating income by the end of 2022 - within the 80 percent allowed by law.
- €19.2 million is planned for servicing loans next year, of which €16.2 million is earmarked towards the repayment of the principal part of the city's loans and bonds and 3 million for interest expenses.
- In addition, all students in basic school, upper secondary school and vocational education will receive a grant of €50 at the beginning of the school year.
- The operating result of the city is planned to be €84.1 million in 2022, which meets the requirement of the Local Government Financial Management Act that the expected operating result must be zero or positive.
- €269 million is planned for investments in 2022, two times 2021's rate.
- A quarter of this is investments in roads and streets, a total of €67.7 million is planned for the overhaul and reconstruction of roads and streets.
- Investments in education account for 22.3 percent of all investments, totaling €59.9 million .
- 15.9 percent of the total volume of investments will go into urban transport, increasing to €42.8 million , which will be spent on reorganizations in the public transport network and purchase of 150 new buses and trams.
- In total, investments in roads and streets, education and urban transport account for almost two thirds of all investments planned for the year.
- Investments in the field of culture constitute €28.9 million of the budget.
- In the field of education, both operating expenses and investments will increase in the 2022 budget compared with this year.
- Particular attention will be paid to improving children's exercise habits and developing a modern learning environment, and a number of kindergartens, schools and hobby schools will be renovated. €59.9 million are planned for investments of educational institutions, including €16.3 million for schools and €43.6 million for kindergartens.
- As an important strategic investment in entrepreneurship, the city will contribute 500,000 to the Tallinn Business Incubator to support the establishment of a new creative and circular economic hub in the city center, which would help and advise starting and operating companies.
- A total of €29.4 million is planned for operational expenditures in the field of culture, which is €2.4 million more than in the revised budget for 2021.
- Attention is paid to the promotion of both Estonian national culture and the cultures of national minorities, to supporting important events in the cultural life of Tallinn and to the development of the city's cultural institutions.
- The total volume of investments in the field of culture in 2022 is planned at €28.9 million , which is almost three times more than this year. The lion's share of this - €13.4 million - is related to the construction of the Tallinn City Theater.
Isamaa opposes budget says too little on welfare and Estonian-language education
Isamaa's Tallinn city council chambers group, in opposition, criticized the budget over entries relating to provision of education in the Estonian language, fight against the coronavirus, coping of families and the elderly and maintenance of streets.
Councilor and Riigikogu MP Riina Solman said that: "The government has yet to make any progress with transitioning to Estonian-language education. Isamaa has submitted a proposal in the Tallinn city council for implementing a plan for protecting the Estonian language in Tallinn and in order to launch it, supplementary resources must be allocated,"
An additional one-million-euro investment in education is needed, as well as a supplementary four-million-euro allocation is necessary for improving schools' ventilation systems, Isamaa says.
Isamaa also proposed that the city should take over the maintenance of pavements during winter periods.
"Unless the 2022 budget includes investments in the wellbeing of residents, we cannot support it," Solman added.
"An additional investment of 10 million would ensure that Tallinn streets are in a better condition during the winter period," she continued, adding that the city shouldering the effort would free homeowners from an unfair obligation to maintain pavements belonging to the city.
The coalition has opted for increasing the number of city officials, at the cost of welfare provision, Solman went on.
The ruling Center/SDE coalition voted down Isamaa's proposals.
Isamaa ran on a "Clean the square" ("Plats puhtaks") slogan in October's election campaign, which saw Urmas Reinsalu running as mayoral candidate.
Editor: Andrew Whyte