OBG critical of swimming pool supporters’ charity

Local political group the OBG have released a statement criticising the creation of the creation of the “Förderverein Taunabad” – the charity set up by supporters of the new swimming pool.

Part of their criticism is that the main players in the charity are also key figures in the town’s administration.  They argue that by transferring power from the town hall to the charity those at the top are no longer directly accountable to voters but to the charity’s board instead.

But they also criticise the fact that lower down the chain there are town hall employees who they claim then carry out work for this and other organisations in the town whilst being paid for by the towns budget but without the internal accountability. [Read more…]

Getting to the root of the Sycamore Tree problem

There is a tree in the centre of Oberursel that has been receiving quite a bit of attention recently.  Called a “Platane”, a type of sycamore tree, it is located at the junction of the Adenauerallee, Oberhöchstadter Straße and the Liebfrauenstraße, next to what used to be called KDM – “Kaufhaus der Mitte”.

Whilst KDM is in the process of being modernised, the crossing itself has been in discussion for re-development at some time in the future, or even re-configuration you might say, considering that part of the discussion focuses on how the traffic lanes should be laid out.

At one point there was talk of planting a replacement tree and removing the current one, but this met with such resistance – even among members of the town council – that just two months ago the town hall scrapped those plans and came up with new ones leaving the tree in place.

“Not a branch will be damaged” claimed the Taunus Zeitung in March. [Read more…]

Could the new Sauna be replaced by a Kindergarten?

Of the many problems facing the politicians in Oberursel, two have been recurring topics at council meetings in the past year.  The cost of building a new swimming pool and the need for more kindergarten places, especially at the northern end of the town.

Add to this the dilemma of the budget for 2013 being approved but with some restrictions in place, and – as treasurer Thorsten Schorr put it – “There can be no more discussion about building projects for services provided on a voluntary basis”.

So what does that mean for the proposed sauna at the new swimming pool?  The current plans for the new building include an area for a sauna, but only the walls, a temporary roof and possibly the utilities will be put in place.  It was then planned to actually fit out the rooms at a later stage. [Read more…]

OBG says sauna would pose a risk for the town’s finances

Local political group the OBG do not belive that adding a sauna to the new indoor swimming pool would make financial sense, as they claim it would cost more to build and run than it would make in revenue.  In fact, the leader of their parliamentary group Georg Braun says that this has been clear to them since the summer of 2011.

According to an expert opinion, the income from a sauna would cover the running costs, but not when the cost of building it is added to the equation.  Georg Braun was quoted as asking “What use would the higher revenue be, if the investment costs are not covered?”

The OBG went into the pedestrian area of the town on Saturday morning, and reported that in many of their conversations with passers-by the people of the town are confused by what they call the “half truths” of the sauna supporters.  They also warn that if the sauna were to make a loss, then the taxpayer would have to pick up the bill. [Read more…]

Once upon a time, there was a sports field…

… and that field was one of the most discussed topics in Oberursel.

In fact, it was one of the decisive issues the last time the town council was elected, when the CDU and FDP were in favour of selling it to fund the new swimming pool, SPD, the Green party and OBG were against doing so.

How fast the parties can change their position became apparent last year, when the SPD and Green party sided with the CDU in a vote on the funding of the swimming pool project with a clause stating that the sports field would be sold if an alternative could not be found by the middle of 2013. [Read more…]

Who says that we can’t afford a swimming pool?

The Bürgerversammlung about the new swimming pool last week appears to have a lasting effect on many in Oberursel, because in the space of just a few days the political landscape in the town has changed dramatically.

Let me try and explain the past few years in simple terms first:

1. The indoor pool in the town was closed because the roof was deemed unstable.

2. The coalition of CDU and FDP wanted to sell of a sports field (Altkönigsportplatz) and the swimming pool car park to finance a new building, and an architect came up with a design to include a sauna and modernise the outside pool at the same time.

3. At the town parliament elections last year, the SPD, Green party and OBG were all behind the swimming pool, but did not want to sell of the sports field, and although the CDU remained the largest party in the parliament, the SPD/Green/OBG coalition gained a majority.

4. SPD/Green/OBG drew up a coalition agreement that they would build a new swimming pool, but would borrow at most only 20% of the capital needed to do so and would not sell of the sports field.

5. It was then decided just to build a new indoor pool and leave space for a sauna, moving work on the outdoor pool to a later date.

6. Planning permission was given, changes to Bebauungspläne were approved, and companies started giving quotes on the cost of actually building it.

7. A few weeks ago they even held a press conference to announce that building work would be starting soon.

You could say that everything was going swimmingly, until the town’s treasurer explained why the town could not afford to build it. [Read more…]

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