Tallinn will be hiking its yearly pension supplement, start of school and other benefits for citizens, as well as prioritize the construction of public buildings made of wood in its 2024 budget. The latter's total volume is €1.26 billion, with the capital borrowing €125 million.
Tallinn puts revenue at €1.06 billion and expenses at €984.1 million in its 2024 budget.
Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said at a press conference Wednesday that the capital's €8.8-million program for transitioning to teaching in Estonian is the most important expense next year.
He said that the budget is based on the public sector having to support people and invest in the economy during difficult times, with the local wooden houses sector prioritized in the latter.
"Of course, we are not talking about a benefit. Our goal is to build more wooden buildings in the city," Kõlvart said, giving the examples of kindergartens, circular economy centers, or even public buildings on beaches. "There will be many wooden buildings serving a public function in the capital over the coming years."
The capital's education investments amount to €70 million chief among which are the Kullo Hobby Center (€25 million), an annex for the Tallinn Secondary Science School (Reaalkool), renovating the Hiiu School, the final stage of the Pirita High School of Economics and constructing the new Karjamaa School. The latter project will take longer than one year, with €11.3 million of the investment reflected in next year's budget.
Work to renovate Peterburi maantee should also start next year. The city will also be paying to retain the Kopli Rescue Department and for construction to continue on Linnateater's new building.
Tallinn also plans to hike several benefits. The once yearly pension supplement the capital offers pensioners will be hiked from €175 to €200, which will require €18.3 million.
The benefit for a child with disabilities will grow from €125 to €150 for a total of €285,000. The hourly rate of support persons for children with special needs will grow from €7 to €9, while the start of school benefit will jump from €75 to €100.
In the field of transport, Tallinn plans to buy 15 electric buses worth €7 million and spend €27 million on 23 new trams. Public transport will continue to be free for Tallinn residents and the night bus service will be retained year-round.
The capital wants to have a network of bicycle paths that could offer a viable alternative to other modes of transport in two years' time.
Talking about how to pay for the new spending, Kõlvart said that because Tallinn has refrained from borrowing heavily in previous years, it can now afford to do so. Tallinn plans to borrow €125 million next year.
Editor: Karin Koppel, Marcus Turovski