Bamberg’s coffers just seem empty

Bamberg's coffers just seem empty

It really does exist – the city of bamberg's city treasury. The iron-fortified chest stands in a corner of room 229 in the town hall and is supposedly empty, as chamberlain bertram felix tried to show at the end of a long conversation with our newspaper – which took some effort. At the beginning, the box did not like to open.

The image of a treasure chest that is stuck also fits much better into the environment of the draft budget 2013 that was presented to the city council. There is no question of empty coffers. You just have to know how they open up.

That's why there will also be a fireworks display of investments in bamberg in 2013. Despite falling trade tax revenues and a sharp rise in personnel expenses. 20.5 million euros "flowing back from the city into the economic cycle", as bertram felix said – not without pride. Because the "general conditions" kammerer also calls it "almost dramatic".

The lowen share and, so to speak, the lead investment of the year will be to create the infrastructure that the automotive supplier brose has demanded. The project includes the underground cabling of a power line, the widening of the runway, the creation of a tower and a terminal for passengers at the airport: 11.5 million euros is the price tag for the company, which has promised to create up to 1,500 jobs in a new "headquarters to settle in bamberg. 3.7 million to be raised in 2013.

But "brose" is only the roughest, not the only project that the city of bamberg is pushing ahead with in the coming year. 2.5 million euros are to be invested in renovation, fire protection and, not least, the dilapidated toilet facilities of many bamberg schools; 1.1 million euros will be diverted to the expansion of kindergartens and daycare centers, with which the city of bamberg will continue to set standards for family-friendliness: "we will then provide for 38 percent of all eligible children in the city of bamberg. That's a rate well above the average for bavarian municipalities", the financial officer is pleased.

Of course, the expansion of care facilities has a long-term effect that goes beyond investments in glass and concrete and is not entirely unproblematic: the personnel cost subsidies that the city transfers to the providers of day care centers will increase by a further 1.8 million euros to 11.8 million euros in 2013. "This will significantly increase the impact for us", states felix. His concern: staff costs could severely restrict the city's ability to act in the future.

The figures already give an indication of this: in 2013, the city will make 62 million euros available for its 1171 full-time positions, the largest block of costs. What makes the case a problem not only from the point of view of the controllers: with rising costs, the personnel cost subsidies from the federal and state governments, for example for the job centers, are shrinking by 800,000 euros. The gap between income and expenditure is thus widening.
But there is also good news from the chamber of commerce, and it is these cornerstones that make it possible for bamberg, unlike many other cities in bavaria, not to have to incur new debts in spite of rough challenges. Example income tax share. Since 2003, things have been going steadily downhill. Bamberg is expected to collect 28 million euros from the employment of its citizens in the coming year – a reflection of the city's prosperous development.

As in the previous year, there is therefore no threat in 2013 of cuts in so-called voluntary services, for which there is no statutory obligation. This will benefit the city's clubs, for example, but also such a renowned institution as the bamberg symphony orchestra. The city's subsidy for the philharmonic orchestra will increase by almost 20 percent in 2013.000 to 1.469.000 euro. That's 12.3 percent of the orchestra's total budget – 11.94 million euros.

Bamberg's budget is traditionally approved by the city council in december. But it is already foreseeable that little resistance can be expected from the burghers' representatives. The CSU and the SPD, in particular, strongly support brose's course of action: "for us, these millions are an investment in the future of bamberg," says felix, says helmut muller of the CSU. Wolfgang metzner (SPD) emphasizes above all the social aspects: "the city council's groundbreaking decision to locate the brose company in our city will secure bamberg's position as a business location."

Critical voices are to be expected from the green camp. They consider the expansion of the airfield in its planned dimensions to be excessive and demand that it be scaled down:" it is questionable whether the fencing of the airfield and the laying of the power line under the ground are really necessary."
Norbert tscherner is also skeptical: "i wonder whether the hoped-for additional tax revenue from the brose settlement will really end up in the city's account", says the burger block city council. He fears that many employees only commute to bamberg."

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