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Proposal: Savings in Culture and Sports amounting to approximately 3.2 million euros

Published: 12.4.2024

The City of Vaasa's economic balancing program for the years 2024–2027 also affects cultural and sports services. The Culture and Sports Committee will discuss cost-saving measures at its meeting on April 16, 2024. After the committee's discussion, the savings proposals will proceed to the City Board and City Council.

The City of Vaasa is implementing an economic balancing programme. The goal of the programme is to find savings of approximately 40–50 million euros in the city’s operations for the years 2024–2027. The pressure for savings is largely due to the generally weakened financial situation of municipalities, resulting from reduced amounts of both tax revenue and central government transfers to the municipal governments. Several other municipalities in Finland are facing the same situation.

– Finding targets for savings in cultural and sports services has been extremely challenging, and there are no easy solutions. However, efforts will be made to maintain basic services at a high level, says Christina Knookala, Director of Education.

Proposed savings in cultural activities

The committee is proposed to seek the largest savings in the City Orchestra from annual investments, practically instrument acquisitions. The largest savings in the City Theatre will come from discontinuing opera activities.

Regarding Cultural and Library Services, the biggest savings proposed involve closing the Palosaari Library. The Palosaari Library is close to the Main Library, and the perspective of location acts as the criterion for prioritising closing it over other neighbourhood libraries.

Savings in Vaasa’s city museums will be sought, among other things, by reducing opening hours, resulting in museums being closed from Sunday to Tuesday. Currently, museums are only closed on Mondays. Outside opening hours, museum staff would digitise the museum’s extensive collection and prepare for a possible relocation of the collection.

Proposed savings in Sports Services

Regarding Vaasa’s sports services, the committee is proposed to make children and youth practice slots in city-managed facilities chargeable starting from autumn 2024.

Additionally, the cash desk at the swimming hall would be closed on Sundays, and the weekend opening hours of the swimming hall would be reduced by two hours per day. Also, the range of group exercise classes offered by the city would be reduced.

Balancing the Budget by 2027

Savings must be made to balance the city’s budget by 2027. The main purpose of the city’s adjustment plans is to seek permanent savings, achieve budget balance, and slow down debt accumulation.

Mayor Tomas Häyry wants to instil confidence in the future and look further ahead.

– Population growth and industrial investments suggest that better times are ahead, and we will be able to continue providing residents with good and high-quality services in the future. The demands for savings feel heavy for each of us, but together we will get through these difficult times.