The City of Tartu budget for 2023 has passed into force and is set at €273,825,040 for the year, with a stress on raising teachers', social workers' and cultural workers' wages, and investments into education.
The budget passed a city council chambers vote, with 29 in favor, though 19 votes went against it.
Tartu City Council Chair said Kaspar Kokk (Isamaa),despite the difficult economic conditions, Estonia's second city was doing well, and vital services to city residents were guaranteed. "It is particularly important to continue making planned investments, so increasing the debt burden for this purpose is fully justified," Kook said.
The 2023 Tartu budget is 12 percent larger than this year's, though its preparation was a tense process, ERR reports.
In order to make the required investments, the city needs to borrow more, while at the same time find savings opportunities too, and balance this against substantial inflation.
In any case, the €213 million 2022 budget for Tartu had to be topped up by two separate supplementary budgets, in June (€25 million) and October (€7 million).
Major investment objects in the field of education include the building of the Pärli school, the reconstruction of the Helika kindergarten, and purchase and repairs to the Miina Härma high school annex.
Of infrastructure objects, the construction of the extension of Põhja pst to the Muuseumi tee in, the development of the Emajõgi embankment promenade between the Rahu and Kaarsild bridges, and the construction of new bike paths are of great importance.
Preparations for the establishment of a cultural center in the heart of the city continue.
City of Tartu 2023 budget quick facts:
- City's investment expenditure will be €55.3 million, revenues: €10 million.
- City plans to borrow €41 million to cover costs of necessary investments.
- Net debt burden will rise to 64 percent, still below the permitted limit of 80 percent.
- Revenues of Tartu's core activities set at nearly €211 million, a 9 percent rise on 2022.
- Main source of income, personal income tax, budgeted to take in €12 million more than 2022, at €122 million.
- €60 million earmarked for subsidies from the state and other institutions; €24 million from the sale of goods and services.
- Core activities cost €209 million, of which €116.5 million will be spent on education.
- Labor costs come to €110 million, or €15 million more than in 2022.
- Wage hikes for school and kindergarten teachers are 24 percent; 16 percent for teachers' assistants – also the average wage risefor employees in the field of education.
- Cultural wage rises will be 18 percent and for social workers, 20 percent.
- Tartu takes in €2.1 million from local taxes - parking fees, road closure taxes and advertising taxes.
The city has been nominated European Capital of Culture for the following year, 2024.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov