The Tallinn City Council adopted the 2020 municipal budget that prioritises the needs of children and families and aims to improve their well-being.
The next year’s municipal budget totals nearly 824 million euros. Chairman of the City Council Tiit Terik said that the factions proposed 81 amendments for the second reading. “The Council approved either fully or partly eleven amendments that increased the budget by nearly one million euros,” said the Council Chairman.
According to Terik, it is nice to see that education continues to be a priority in the municipal budget, especially given the recently published results of the PISA test. Education sector operating costs make up 40 percent of the next year’s municipal budget or nearly 263 million euros, including funding from the central government. The planned education sector investments amount to nearly 49 million euros with the renovation of a total of 13 schools and nurseries set to begin next year.
More than 50,000 euros are earmarked for implementing various prevention and intervention programs to tackle bullying in schools. The city will gradually recondition and reconstruct playgrounds across the city to create development and playing opportunities for children with special needs and their families. Nearly two million euros are envisaged in the budget to ensure support person services for children with a severe or profound disability and some of this money will come from the savings achieved by closing the Tallinn Television.
One of the amendments proposed by the opposition was to raise the salary of teacher's assistants in nurseries by 50 euros. “Even though Tallinn has raised the salaries of nursery school teachers year after year their salaries should actually grow faster,” noted the Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart. “Our views overlap with the opposition’s proposal and we are happy to pursue it together.”
As for social welfare, the municipal budget ensures the social coping of various target groups and allow them to be actively involved in the community. This includes services and benefits for families with children, the elderly, persons with special needs, and others in need of assistance. Next year, care workers should get a salary raise of 20% and as the provision of nursing services at major care homes has not been solved on the national level the city will use its budget to fund home nursing services for chronically ill patients living at home and for elderly residents at Iru Care Home. The amount of support person services for severely or profoundly disabled adults will increase by 50 percent and the hourly service fee will be raised to ten euros from the current rate of six euros.
As for transport infrastructure, the priorities include the repair of neighbourhood roads and walkways for which eight million euros are planned or three million more than last year. The city will invest a total of 70 million euros in this sphere. Among other efforts, the construction of tracks for pedestrians, cyclists and recreational sports will continue to promote physical activity and provide more opportunities for recreation.
As for urban maintenance, three million euros are envisaged for further reconditioning of parks and green zones. Also, the efforts to develop community farming across districts will continue.
Other major investments include the development of Tallinn City Theatre - a project with a total value of 5.7 million euros. As the complete reconstruction of the theatre’s facilities calls for a temporary location for performing plays the Salme Culture Centre will also undergo extensive renovation next year for a total cost of almost 800,000 euros.
1.5 million euros are allocated for constructing the Tiger Valley at Tallinn Zoo, and 5.5 million euros are planned for investments at the Tallinn Botanical Garden (reconstruction of Palm House and extensive renovation of auxiliary facilities).