Tbilisi City Hall Has 1 Billion GEL Budget for 2019

In the last week of 2018, the Tbilisi Sakrebulo (City Assembly) approved the city’s budget for 2019. Tbilisi, and its effervescent mayor Kakha Kaladze, will have 927.6 million GEL ($346.8 mln) to spend over the next 12 months, plus another 75 million GEL ($28 mln) carried over from 2018 as a special budget transfer.

The budget is slightly higher than 2018’s – 861.6 million GEL ($322 mln). Kaladze explained at a press briefing on December 27, that with the new budget City Hall “will have the opportunity to implement more interesting projects for Tbilisi. 38% of this budget will be spent on infrastructural projects, as many districts, streets and neighborhoods still need to be improved. About 35% or more will be spent on health and social needs. Unfortunately, there are still many families in Tbilisi who are in dire financial straits and need government support... Consequently, the budget has been increased by 20 million GEL in this direction.” Healthcare and social funding will in particular be allocated for breast cancer prevention and management, socially vulnerable families with many children, housing compensation for socially vulnerable residents, and food programs for the homeless and hungry.

First Deputy Mayor Irakli Khmaladze broke down the budget figure, noting that 900 million of the 2019 budget comes from city revenue – approximately 73% from VAT and property taxes, 5,6% from grants, and 21% from other sources. “Property taxes in 2019, as planned, exceed the previous year by 25 million GEL...out of 51 million GEL [in grants], 50 million GEL is a special transfer from the State. In some directions, we have increased our revenue – notably the sale of goods and services, which is planned to exceed previous indicators by 15 million GEL,” said Khmaladze.

He also explained that at least 357 million GEL ($133.5 mln) of the 2019 budget will go to infrastructural projects. Khmaladze explained, “In 2019 we are approving 357 million GEL, which will increase by 75 million GEL during the year. In this regard, I would like to tell you that 2019 will be the first year when the budget of Tbilisi will exceed 1 billion GEL...Certainly, Tbilisi’s budget has never had such high indicators and it provides grounds to assure you that 2019 will be even more beneficial and fruitful for the city than 2018.”

Another major area of funding will be pre-schools, the budget for which will increase by 51 million GEL. This year, 11 new kindergartens will be built in the capital at a cost of 23 million GEL, and another 20 million will go to repairs and renovation work on existing kindergarten buildings.

The construction and rehabilitation of bridges and tunnels is also planned, with a budget of 23 million GEL, including repairs on the bridges spanning the Gldanula river, which will cost about 4 million GEL, the construction of a road bridge connecting University Street and Tskneti Highway (8.3 mln GEL), repairs on Vakhushti Bagrationi bridge, renovating the tunnel near the Radisson Blu Hotel, construction and reconstruction of storm water drainage networks and the construction of a floodwater collection point (9 mln GEL), renovations of the Kakheti Highway, the completion of renovation work at Orbeliani Square, Dry Bridge, and Gudiashvili Square, and rehabilitation works for several underground road crossings, notably the underground crossings at Heroes’ Square. Chavchavadze Avenue will be renovated, Khizanishvili and Vekua Streets in Gldani will be fully renovated, a new road will be built connecting Machavariani and Gelovani Streets (18 million GEL), and Gorgasali Street will be renovated.

Sports and leisure will also be a priority for City Hall in 2019 – construction will begin on two new multi-functional sports complexes and tennis courts in Saburtalo and in Vake Park will be renovated. The Youth Palace on Rustaveli Avenue will be renovated at a cost of about 8 million GEL and the historic Pirosmani Street, near Tbilisi’s central train station, will be rehabilitated.

During the press conference, Kaladze thanked the Tbilisi Sakrebulo, his team members, and “even the opposition, for allowing me to share the outcome of a year’s work with the Tbilisi population, which we achieved and made together. Of course, one year is not sufficient to resolve all the problems in the capital city, but we can say that we have built a solid foundation for the proper and sustainable development of the city in a number of directions.”

He continued, “You can see that the plans provided in the budget for 2019 are quite ambitious and it is really one of the best budgets out city has had in recent years. 2019 will be an even better year and we, together, will make Tbilisi more comfortable to live in, with improved infrastructure in all districts, neighborhoods and streets. I believe that we will manage it with united efforts and support from the population.”

By Samantha Guthrie

Image source: Tbilisi City Hall

07 January 2019 12:13