Dutch municipalities show budget surplus for first time in 17 years

Last year Dutch municipalities spent less money than they received for the first time since 1999, Statistics Netherlands revealed on Monday. The municipalities' total revenues amounted to 53.8 billion euros, and spending came down to 53.6 billion euros, NU.nl reports.

Municipal income largely comes from the national and local governments. These revenues amounted to 36.7 billion euros last year, an increase of one billion euros compared to 2015. Municipalities also have their own incomes, raised from municipal taxes, services and land sales. In 2016 this relatively small revenue benefited from the recovering housing market. Last year the net amount of land sales amounted to 2.2 billion euros, back at pre-crisis levels. 

Municipalities' expenditure was at about the same level as in 2015 at 53.6 billion euros. Purchase of goods and services remain municipalities' largest expenditure, totaling in 13.6 billion euros last year. Benefits came in close second at 13.4 billion euros and the payment of wages and social security costs at 9.3 billion euros came in third.

In 2015 the municipalities had a budget deficit of 0.5 billion euros. The largest deficit ever was in 2009, when municipalities spent 4.9 billion euros more than their income.