Toys, Taxes and Torture at the Town Council

The town council meeting on Thursday, 21st November, 2013, was always going to be centred around the budget for the forthcoming year.  But with the debate lasting over two hours, each of the parties was determined to have their say.

It was Councillor Markus Bürgel who kicked off the debate for the CDU, noting that Oberursel had reached the point where savings could no longer be made without the effects being visible.  He was critical of the national government in Berlin for taking decisions that the local level then has to pay for, without providing any means of financing them, although he was quick to point out that in the last 15 years almost all national parties had taken part in those decisions.

He commented that savings on services that fall in the “social” area where difficult to make, but that if there was no other option the voluntary services in this area would fall foul of the spending cuts.  He called these services the “head of the social department’s toys” (Spielzeuge des Sozialdezernenten)! [Read more…]

Kiosk petition fails to collect enough signatures for a referendum

A petition to hold a referendum on the future of the kiosk at Oberursel’s main station has failed to collect the required number of signatures.  The kiosk had closed in the middle of December and was removed early in the new year.

The “Bürgerbegehren” required 10% of those living in the town and eligible to vote  to sign with their full name, address and date of birth.  The deadline ran out yesterday: Thursday, 17th January, 2013, when one of the organisers of the petition, Angela Stohrer, submitted the 189 pages to the town hall.  It was 8 weeks to the day since the town council had rejected a motion by Ingmar Schlegel of “die Linke” to stop the kiosk’s closure.

However, many of those who had downloaded the petition from the internet and printed it off had often not filled out all of the columns on the form, especially the date of birth, making their voting status difficult to confirm for the town hall and thus invalid. [Read more…]

Making savings… and talking about it

Two days after the Oberursel’s finance committee voted on the 53 proposals to amend the town’s budget for 2013, the town council sat to actually vote on the budget, with those amendments in place.

Despite the fact that all the points had been discussed individually at the finance committee, the parties took it in turn to make a speech and put forward their view on the budget and the current situation in terms of the town’s finances.

In some cases they went through those amendments – even those that had been turned town – point for point, sometimes with even their own party members showing a distinct lack of interest.

However it was also a chance to criticise the other parties on the council, especially as some had apparently missed a deadline to submit proposals for savings leading to suggestions that maybe they had been waiting to see what the others came up with, something that was strongly denied.

Here are some quotes from those speeches: [Read more…]

Last bid attempt to save the station kiosk fails

Following an appeal by local bus drivers and engaged members of the public, including discussions on Facebook, a member of the town council representing the party “Die Linke” put forward an urgent motion to extend the lease on the kiosk at the station at the council meeting last Thursday (22nd November, 2012).

The motion received the two-thirds majority that it required to be accepted onto the agenda, with all councillors voting in favour of its addition with the exception of one councillor from the CDU party who voted against it.

But with the town’s budget to be debated first, it was not until three hours later that the councillors actually got round to discussing the motion itself. [Read more…]

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