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Friday 22.02.2019 | Name days: Rigonda, Adrians, Ārija
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Proposal to increase grants for Rīgas satiksme to EUR 132.8 million gains support

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RURiga City Council’s Finance and Administrative Affairs Committee supported amendments to the municipality’s 2018 budget plan. The supported changes increase the municipality’s expenditures to EUR 1.023 billion this year.

The meeting was attended by only three opposition deputies, who interviewed the city council’s Finance Department director Ilga Tiknuse.

Deputy Vilnis Ķirsis from Unity pointed out the EUR 22.5 million large grant intended for Rīgas satiksme. Tiknuse explained that it is necessary to increase grants for the company because the number of transported passengers has reduced. Additionally, the number of groups provided with discounts has increased. When asked if the company is at risk of going bankrupt without grants, Tiknuse said «that would be going too far», because the company has other solutions.

Tiknuse said that together with state grants, Rīgas satiksme will have received grants worth a total of EUR 132.8 million this year.

Deputy Krišjānis Feldmans from New Conservative Party asked if it is true that taxes from all Riga residents are not enough to cover RS grants. Tiknuse avoided giving a straight answer.

Feldmans also pointed to other budget amendments and asked why there has been a EUR 50,000 reduction of social insurance fees for employees. The city council’s financier explained that over the course of the year a surplus formed because of sick leaves, vacations and other factors.

The opposition deputy also asked if it is normal practice to divert all available surplus to bonus pay, not reduction of budget deficit. Tiknuse explained that the finance department has no right to prohibit paying bonuses, because «there are people who have earned them».

Feldmans also outlined expenditures worth EUR 30,000. This money will be diverted towards representation of the city’s interests in European Union and Moscow. «Do you really think spending EUR 14,000 on business trips to Moscow is economically justified?» asked the deputy. Tiknuse explained that funding was diverted from the money provided to Foreign Affairs Office.

Deputy Sandis Riekstiņš (NCP) asked if it was an emergency that forced the allocation of EUR 99,000 to Riga Forests on the restoration of benches in Dzeguzkalns Park, restoration of picnic tables on Augusta Deglava Street and elsewhere. Tiknuse claimed that damages were caused during «summer and autumn storms».

Several opposition deputies had submitted proposals for budget amendments. For example, Juris Pūce, who will soon start working in the Saeima, proposed diverting EUR 241,346 towards increasing wages of heads of managers and specialists, as well as diverting EUR 119,746 towards increase of wages of municipal social workers.

Deputy Anete Jēkabsone-Žogota proposed diverting EUR 350,864 towards increasing wages of pre-school teachers. Deputy Māris Mičerevskis proposed diverting EUR 225,438 towards increasing wages of municipal police officers.

None of the seven proposals from opposition deputies were supported.

Together with state finances, the largest budget increase is planned for the municipality’s Education, Culture and Sports Department – by EUR 12.15 million.

An additional amount of EUR 9.73 million will be allocated to cover Finance Department’s expenses. Property Department will be provided with an additional amount of EUR 617,137, the Transport Department will be provided with EUR 574,275, Welfare Department – EUR 357,925, and the Housing and Environment Department – EUR 52,928.

An additional amount of EUR 200,000 will be provided to Riga Energy Agency, EUR 453,424 – to Rīgas gaisma, EUR 159,436 – to Riga Forest and other municipal institutions.

In total, municipal institutions had requested EUR 25.65 million this year. However, the Finance Department agreed to support allocation of EUR 24.76 million.

Although the real estate property tax revenue dropped by EUR 2.4 million this year, the municipality’s revenue still managed to increase by EUR 15.28 million. With that, Riga municipality’s budget revenue has reached EUR 923.69 million, whereas expenditures – EUR 1.023 billion.


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