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…]

From the town council: Swimming, Sewage, the Station, and the Saga of the Bärenkreuzung

The last meeting of the town council in Oberursel was a long, drawn out affair, which even prompted Mayor Hans-Georg Brum to refer to part of the debate as a “Gebetsmühle” – literally a “prayer wheel”, ie. a discussion that was taking a long time and going round in circles.

It was also the point in the council year for treasurer Thorsten Schorr to make his annual budget speech, the debate on which was deferred to a later date after the Bürgerversammlung about the proposed savings.

Part of that budget may have played a role in the OBG asking what the pre-requisites are for town employees taking on committee roles in charities such as the Förderverein Taunabad during their work time and whether this was not something that the town was doing voluntarily and hence should possibly be reduced or stopped altogether under the budget constraints. [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…]

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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