Between Chartres and the Regional Chamber of Accounts, relations still tense

Jean-Pierre Gorges, mayor of Chartres (Eure-et-Loir), does he have delusions of grandeur? This is what emerges from reading a report from the Regional Chamber of Accounts of Centre-Val de Loire published on September 30 and unveiled the evening before during the Chartres Métropole council.

Colosseum, Pôle Gare, aerodrome, exhibition center, new districts, so many projects coming after the grandiose nautical complex L’Odysée, built to host championships at the highest level. All this equipment was made under the mandate of the mayor and president of Chartres Métropole.

The Chamber has calculated that, if it carried out its projects, the local authority would have to invest 245 million euros by 2023, and that it could “go into debt beyond its financial capacities”.

The emblematic mayor of Chartres, who had missed the nomination in the 2017 presidential election by a few dozen signatures, harbors a tenacious disdain for the “centralizing” state in general, and for the Regional Chamber of accounts in particular, which he says are hampering him.

For Jean-Pierre Gorges, Chartres must win against competition from other cities one hour from Paris. And it is not the State that will help him, he who, with the Notre law of 2015, forced him to welcome in Chartres Métropole rural and peri-urban municipalities with modest resources. It therefore goes through semi-public companies (SEM), in which the local authority is a shareholder.

Opposition calls for more transparency

This “alert” from financial judges comes after a first warning shot last May on the involvement of the local community in too many SEMs. The Chamber also returns to this way of outsourcing public action. She recalls that the Chartrain taxpayer had to provide 91 million euros to bail out these companies that elected officials use to speed up projects, in order to circumvent red tape.

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According to Chartres Métropole, these companies are legal. They are based on jobs that cannot be relocated, provide work for companies in the territory, and are the most controlled at the national level.

Beyond the question of “mismanagement and the financial monster”, she denounces, the opposition calls for more transparency from the executive, as on the medieval park project in front of the cathedral. “The Regional Chamber of Auditors points out that there were 200,000 euros for studies. We ask to know the content, but they are not transmitted to us ”, tackle Quentin Guillemain, municipal councilor EELV.

In his response to the Chamber, the president of Chartres Métropole addresses a form of threat: by ceasing transfers to small towns in the agglomeration and to professional sports clubs, the community would immediately halve its debt.