After a nearly seven-hour session, Riga City Council approved amendments to its budget plan that increased the city’s expenditures by EUR 42.38 million and the expected deficit to EUR 89.31 million. The opposition voted against changes.
The largest increase of expenditures – EUR 36.28 million – came from the plan to realize last year’s unfinished projects this year.
This year’s expected revenue for the municipality will be EUR 1.79 million larger than initially planned. The increase comes from a EUR 1.66 million in base budget revenue and EUR 125,800 in special budget revenue. With that, the municipality’s revenue in expected to reach EUR 980.41 million this year.
Expenditures have been increased from EUR 954.97 million to EUR 997.72 million. Because of that, Riga municipality’s budget deficit is planned at EUR 83.31 million, even though initially it was planned at EUR 48.34 million. This means budget deficit will formally grow by EUR 40.96 million this year.
The additional expenditures include EUR 32.28 million from last year’s unrealized funds. This includes budget leftovers from the municipality’s agencies and departments, state budget transfers, unrealized investment objects and other finances. Finances will be allocated for specific goals and cannot be written off or used for other reasons.
The fixed municipal base budget surplus is EUR 111.14 million. With that, the expected budget surplus at the end of the year may be a little over EUR 54 million.
The amount of money needed for realization of various projects is EUR 4.72 million.
Deputies also supported allocation of budget funds to several projects. Funding will be allocated to commence work of the restored building of Riga’s French Lyceum on Kr. Valdemara Street (securing personnel, procurement of education materials and equipment) – EUR 363,000.
It is also planned to allocate EUR 2 million for the sports grounds improvement of Imanta Secondary School. Sorting of Daugavgriva Secondary School’s facade will cost EUR 500,000.
To finish construction work on the African Savannah complex of Riga Zoological Garden, Riga City Council will allocate funding of EUR 156,000. Reconstruction of the entire complex will cost EUR 288,000, the city council explains.
Budget amendments also received 18 proposals. Only three of them were supported in the end. Two proposals from deputy Olegs Burovs (Honor to Serve Riga) were supported – allocation of EUR 400,000 to the city council financing for the preservation of cultural monuments and EUR 150,000 for the remodeling of cafeteria space in Riga State 3rd Gymnasium, Riga Purvciems Secondary School and Riga Zolitude Gymnasium.
Another supported proposal came from Mayor Nils Usakovs – allocation of EUR 239,581 to workers of Riga Social Service and EUR 113,778 to workers of Riga City Council Welfare Department.
Following support of said proposals, it is planned that the city council’s expenditures will increase by nearly 1 million euros. All three proposals received support from the majority of the opposition.
During debates, the majority of opposition members called amendments “wasteful and stagnant”. They also criticized the ruling coalition for limiting the minority during the session.
Amendments were approved with the opposition voting against. (BNN/Business World Magazine)