From the town council: The Fountain Festival, the Carnival, and the Swimming Pool

When the town council met on Thursday, 12th September, 2013, there were no really “big” topics.  There was almost no mention of the swimming pool and almost no mention of the state of the town’s finances.  In fact, there was quite a bit of agreement about things not to talk about, but to send off to other sub-committees.

Nethertheless, there were still plenty of things to talk about.

One of the more curious set of questions during the evening came from the CDU group, who wanted to know how much the town spend on the annual Brunnenfest (Fountain festival), in particular in 2013.  They also wanted to know why the fireworks did not take place this year.  A rather strange request, considering that one of the people on the committee that organizes the festival is also a CDU councillor. [Read more…]

Making sense of the town’s budget

Having gone through one of the party’s suggestions for the town budget on Monday afternoon, on Tuesday evening the suggestions of the other parties in the town council came to light when the finance committee met to discuss and vote on them.

As the OBG, whose suggestions I had outlined here on the site, only have 2 of the 14 seats on the committee, most of their proposals ended up getting voted down by 2 votes to 12.

In some cases, the coalition of CDU, SPD and the Green Party had their own suggestions that contradicted them, and their 11 votes carried the motions.  The FDP with one vote did not have much influence on the proceedings, and at one point their member on the committee even voted against their own proposal.

So what remains for the town council to approve after the marathon session with 53 proposed ammendments? [Read more…]

These charges may rise in 2013

Before the town’s treasurer had presented his budget speech at the council meeting last week, the FDP asked whether, in addition to the child-care costs, it was planned to raise any other charges in 2013?

The answer was yes.

It is planned to raise the annual fee to use the town’s library will from €10 to €15, generating around €11,000 extra income.

The cost of a stand at the monthly flea market in the Adenauerallee or Nassauer Straße will also rise from €15 to €17.50.

 

What is going to happen to the temporary classrooms in the Marxstraße?

If you drive along the Marxstraße in Oberursel you can’t help noticing the empty classrooms at one end of the road next to the Red Cross building and just before the entrance to Rolls Royce.

These „temporary“ classrooms have now been there for just over 25 years, and have over the course of those years been home to classes from Frankfurt International School (FIS), the primary school in Oberstedten, the primary school in Bommersheim and the grammar school (Gymnasium).

But now they stand empty and at the town council meeting last week the CDU party put forward no less than two motions on what to do with them, which led into another two motions on after-school child-care places.

The first suggestion was to have the buildings checked out to see if they can offer additional after-school places until others become available. This needed very little discussion, as, apparently, there is a tradition for all parties to support motions to “check” things, so-called “Prüfanträge”. [Read more…]

How Oberursel plans to reduce its deficit in the coming years

At the town council meeting last week the town’s treasurer (Stadtkämmerer) , Thorsten Schorr, held what is best described as his budget speech (“Haushaltsrede”) for the coming year. Technically the budget (“Haushalt”) is not actually decided yet and will be discussed by the finance committee in their next sitting so that the council can vote on it in November, but the speech outlined where costs are increasing, where cuts will need to be made, and how the town intends to reduce their deficit by 2018.

The full version of the speech and the draft version of the budget will be available as PDF downloads on the town’s website this week, but obviously in German.

So here is a summary of the main points in English.

The speech started with the first potential saving – the members of the council and the executive will only receive printed copies of the 1060 page budget if they actually request it, otherwise they too will be receiving a PDF version. This should not be a problem, as they have all been issued with iPads, and with other official documents moving to this form as well the investment costs for the iPads will apparently be more than outweighed by the saving in printing costs.

Then came the bad news. [Read more…]

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