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Tallinn's supplementary budget prioritizes education, support for disabled people, and winter street maintenance

Tallinn's supplementary budget prioritizes education, support for disabled people, and winter street maintenance

The Tallinn City Government has presented the City Council with the first supplementary budget proposal for 2024, increasing the total city budget by 9.5 million euros. With the adoption of the supplementary budget, the revised 2024 budget for Tallinn will total 1.26 billion euros.

According to Mayor Jevgeni Ossinovski, the city budget was thoroughly analyzed to identify opportunities for more efficient use of funds and to direct resources to areas in need. "We found savings of 14 million euros in operating expenses and reviewed the list of investments. Our plans for public transportation are particularly ambitious in the coming years: 30 million euros for renewing the trolleybus fleet and 27 million for modernizing trolleybus infrastructure, as well as funds for purchasing gas buses, which will be spread across multiple budget years," noted the mayor.

"The priorities of the supplementary budget in terms of operating expenses are education, social services, and mobility and urban landscape. In education, we focus on increasing the salary fund for teachers and support specialists and transitioning to Estonian-language instruction. In social services, our primary priority is improving the accessibility of services for people with disabilities. In the urban landscape, we aim to plant more trees and improve the quality of winter street maintenance by allocating additional funds," explained Ossinovski. "At the same time, we are directing nearly 10 million euros to increase reserves to improve our budget position. This allows us to take on less debt than the City Council had anticipated for this year's budget."

The supplementary budget increases the city's revenues by a total of 9.5 million euros. This includes a 2.2 million euro increase in city treasury revenues, a 2.2 million euro increase in the self-generated revenues of city institutions, and an increase of 5 million euros in grants from the state budget and external funding.

The city's operating expenses for 2024 will increase by a total of 17.1 million euros, with the most significant increases in the fields of mobility and education.

In the field of education, the minimum salaries for teachers and support specialists will rise from 1,803 euros to 1,820 euros, and the salary for teacher aides will increase from 1,085 euros to 1,092 euros. Additional funds are allocated to motivate school teachers and increase the salary differentiation fund starting from September 2024. Provisions are also made for the education of children of war refugees from Ukraine. During the transition to Estonian-language instruction, teachers will be supported with language immersion projects and advanced Estonian language training.

In the field of culture, a one-time grant is allocated to the Theatrum Foundation to preserve cultural activities in the Latin Quarter. Additional funds are provided for offering job opportunities to students at the Tallinn Zoo and Botanical Garden.

In the field of sports and physical activity, support expenses for sports projects and organizations are adjusted according to actual needs. Support for the Estonian School Sports Union is reduced by 100,000 euros due to the cessation of its activities, and the operating expenses of the Tallinn Sports School are reduced due to the liquidation of the institution.

In social welfare, the focus is on the care of people with disabilities by increasing expenses for social transport, personal assistant, and support person services to ensure adequate service volume and cover price increases. In child welfare, additional funds are allocated for support person services to ensure that all children on the waiting list receive assistance. In collaboration with the Estonian Rescue Board, the "Fire Safe Homes" project will continue, making 23 homes safer from fire hazards this year.

In the health sector, the operating expenses of the Tallinn Ambulance will increase. Additional funds are allocated for the management of the sobering-up station due to the rising costs of medicines and medical supplies.

In urban management, the volume of building repairs and renovations will increase to cover the costs of vacant city-owned dwellings so they can be re-leased to individuals under city guardianship.

In the mobility sector, the Kadriorg Park maintenance unit will be developed to take over the maintenance of one-quarter of the currently unmaintained sidewalks. To this end, 23 new jobs will be created, and eight new work machines will be acquired starting in September. Expenses will also increase due to the reallocation of street maintenance repair costs from the investment budget to the operating budget.

In the urban landscape and environmental protection sector, landscaping expenses will increase for the creation of new green areas. Additional funds are allocated for replacing infected trees to limit the spread of tree diseases and reduce costs for felling infected city-owned trees. Environmental programs and urban gardens will receive more funding to support city and educational gardens and to increase environmental awareness. Improvements will be made to children's playgrounds. In the technical networks sector, additional funds are allocated for stormwater drainage and purification.

In the field of public order, expenses for crisis preparedness and population protection will increase to ensure readiness for emergencies. Additional funds are allocated for operating the Tallinn Volunteer Rescue Unit in Kopli.

In the investment budget, adjustments are primarily based on the results of public procurements regarding the total costs of investment projects and the expenses planned for 2024.