The town council (Stadtverordnetenversammlung) this week started an hour earlier than usual to the sound of protests outside the Rathaus from local parents and the party “Die Linke” in connection with the rise in childcare costs in the town.
It was this increase in costs that had been discussed at such length at the previous sitting of the council and the proposals on the table this week were pretty much the ones that had been presented to parents mid-June.
And despite the fact that a sub-committee had already debated the latest proposals and even the parents that had were present at that meeting had had a chance to put their point of view, a further debate ensued in the council meeting with each party putting forward their arguments – again.
Much of the discussion was a repeat of the previous month’s, with claims by the CDU that Oberursel’s parents will be hit harder than those in other towns and even arguments on whether the Green party had promised not to raise the costs of childcare, to offer it for free, or offer for free long-term.
There was even an attempt to stop the vote taking place, but entering a motion that it be delayed until the effects of a recent court decision are known, which could see the town receiving more financial support for childcare from regional government. The motion was defeated.
In the end, however, a separate motion was carried that led to a “Namentliche Abstimmung” – a roll-call-type vote where each member of the council votes individually, with the public watching and the vote being recorded in audio for the minutes of the meeting. Confusingly the vote took place fairly quickly and in alphabetical order, making it somewhat difficult to follow.
But in the end they need not have bothered, because the result remained along party lines, with the ruling coalition voting in favour of the new cost structure and the opposition voting against it.
Questions and Answers
In the Q&A session at the beginning of the council meeting it was announced that:
- work on the new swimming pool is still due to start at the end of the open-air (Freibad) season this year
- the current swimming pool car park cannot be sold until at least July 2012, the proceeds from the sale are expected at the end of the year or the beginning of 2013
Everything stops for… football?!
By the time the questions had been answered and the childcare costs debated and voted on, it was 8.20pm, and with only 25 minutes left to go until the start of the Euro 2012 semi-final between Germany and Italy, a motion was passed that the council should vote on everything that the parties are in agreement on and then defer all the other items until the next meeting.
And so it was that (if I counted correctly) 14 votes took places in the space of 10 minutes, before everyone got up and left. Before the kick-off at 8.45pm the foyer of the Rathaus was locked up and in darkness!
In just 10 minutes the council approved:
- changes to the Bebauungsplan for the extension of the Waldorf school
- the public display of the Bebauungsplan for Frankfurt International School
- changes to the Bebauungsplan for the new swimming pool
- a border change giving 63m² from the Stierstadt to Weißkirchen
- 2 temporary barbecues in the Furtweg in Oberstedten
- the transfer of power from the building committee to the executive for the next 9 weeks for any land sales or purchases under €1.5 million
- funds to extend and renew the footpath in the Berliner Straße, near the grammar school
- funds to raise the level of the central platform at the station so that it is at the same level as the carriage floors.