Tallinn City Government has submitted its 2023 budget, worth €1.14 billion, €66.5 million (6.2 percent) more than the city spent in 2022.
The focus of next year's budget, which must pass a vote at Tallinn City Council chambers before entering into force, will be on social security, with most of the investment going into roads, streets and education, the city government says.
Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, next year's city budget is aimed at alleviating socio-economic uncertainty to help residents cope with rapidly rising prices.
The draft budget foresees €217.6 million going on investments in 2023, 4.7 percent lower than the figure for the 2022 budget. Of theses investments, 46.1 percent will be covered by the City Treasury and up to 41.4 percent via loans.
Roads and streets account for the largest share of investment, at 35.9 percent. A total of €78.1 million is planned for the repair and reconstruction of roads and streets, while €49.2 million (a little under 23 percent), is earmarked for education.
Just under 13 percent will be spent on culture and heritage protection.
In total, investments in roads and streets, education and culture and heritage protection account for more than 70 percent of the total budget for 2023, the city government says.
Operating expenditure will come to €902.1 million. 8.8 percent more than the 2022 [revised] budget.
Of this figure, €353.4 million, a little under 40 percent, will go on education.
Expenditure on urban transport accounts for 14.4 percent, or a total of €129.7 million, and expenditure on social welfare and health for 10.8 percent of the total, or €97.8 million.
Taken together, these three sectors account for more than 60 percent of total expenditures, the city government says.
Schools will also see support. Mayor Kõlvart said: "The subsidy for the start of the school year will also rise next year from €50 to €75, while the subsidy allocated to pensioners to compensate for inflation will rise to €175."
The food allowance for nursery school meals will increase by 50 percent, though the cost of school meals for pupils will rise from €1.56 to €1.80 a day, the mayor added.
This increase is the result of inflation, he added, hence the boost to the school meals subsidy from January 1 2023 – which will stand at €0.80 per meal, close to the €1.00 state subsidy in place for the past seven years, the mayor said.
Of other plans for the capital for 2023, Mayor Kõlvart said: "We will also continue to make public transport more environmentally friendly, in line with the European Green Capital principles, by using biomethane to fuel gas buses operating on public routes in Tallinn. We are also planning a number of activities and investments related to the green turnaround and the climate plan, in line with the Green Capital title."
"To be prepared for unpleasant surprises, we are setting up a €1 million crisis reserve within the city's reserve fund. Crises in recent years have shown that it is the local authorities that need to act first, even when it is the responsibility of the state authorities to resolve the situation," the mayor continued, via a city government press release.
"In the context of continued high inflation and taking into account the economic and labor market situation, we will also increase the city organization's wage fund by 10 percent," he added.
Tallinn city government budget, quick facts:
- Total revenue for 2023 is projected at €967 million, of which 68.7 percent is tax revenue.
- Largest source of revenue is personal income tax, amounting to €624.7 million, or 6.6 percent more than projected for 2022.
- Subsidies from the state and other institutions projected at €171.7 million.
- Revenues from the sale of goods and services by the city's institutions forecast at €96.7 million.
- Land tax forecast at €25.4 million; external financing at €22.1 million.
- Up to €90 million in loans to be raised for 2023, leading to estimated debt of 30 percent by the end of 2023.
- Up to €76.6 million to be channeled from reserves accumulated in previous years to cover budgetary expenditures.
- Limit for covering the cost of food for a child in a nursery group will rise from €1.80 to €2.70, and from €2 to €3 per day.
- €9.2 million is foreseen in the 2023 budget to cover the cost of food in nurseries.
- Cost of school meals will be increased to €1.80.
- Additional €6.4 million to be allocated from the city budget to cover cost of school meals.
- €8.9 million is foreseen to accelerate the conversion of street lighting to LED, including upgrading lighting in parks and nursery school playgrounds.
- €129.7 million earmarked for operating expenditure in urban transport to develop network and ensure that the citizens of Tallinn continue to get free public transport, which Mayor Kõlvart called a "universal social benefit," in the current economic situation and amid rising passenger numbers.
- Construction of the tramway between the Ülemiste Terminal and the Old City Harbor, a major project with external funding, will commence.
- Construction of the Tondi level crossing and the reconstruction of Kotka tänav, running between Tondi and Tikutaja, will also start.
- Design of Peterburi tee, Liivalaia tee and Tulika tee (Endla tee to Sõle tee) will continue.
- Reconstruction of Jõe and Pronksi streets and the Vana-Kalamaja redevelopment also ongoing.
- Repairs to intra-block roads in the districts to continue, with a planned €6 million budgeted.
- Tallinn Cycling Strategy 2018-2028 foresees €6.3 million for investments in 2023.
- Work will be completed on the second phase of the Lasnamäe cycle path linking Lasnamäe to the city center and the extension of the J. Poska cycle lane, to Reidi tee.
- Mustamäe Leisure School new building, renovation of the Tallinn Art School and the design of the new building of the Tallinn Leisure Centre Kullo will be completed.
- Design of the extensions to the Jakob Westholm high school and Tallinn Secondary School and the Tallinn Helen School will also be finished.
- "Cloud Forest '' in Tallinn Zoo will be completed, aiming to increase visitor numbers during the low season by creating a new family attraction, one which will also be internationally attractive.
- A new exposition area, the Tiigriorg, will be completed and opened in 2023.
- The Tallinn City Theatre complex will be completed by year-end.
- Work will also continue on parks and green spaces, and the construction and renovation of playgrounds, with a budget of nearly €8 million. Major projects include the reconstruction of the Poolamäe-Tiigiveski park complex, the improvement of the shore area of Lake Harku and the construction of the Pollinator Highway.
The city government sent Tallinn's 2023 budget to the Tallinn City Council on Wednesday.
The city government budget is wholly separate from the state budget bill, which recently passed its second Riigikogu reading (of three) with a view to entering into force before parliament breaks up for Christmas.
Editor: Andrew Whyte