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Offenbach has to keep saving in the budget

Dhe nationally introduced 9-euro ticket for local transport is also a lot of fun for the people of Offenbach. But once the three months of the campaign are over, the priority, as decided by the traffic light coalition, will be to reduce the number of buses and the associated costs. After all, it is important to limit the annual deficit to be compensated by the city and municipal utilities to a maximum of 13 million euros. The SPD, Greens and FDP actually wanted to expand local public transport. However, this does not really want to match the medium-term financial forecast for the cash-strapped municipality. In order to be able to submit a budget that can be approved to the regional council, at least 2023 small rolls have to be baked in Offenbach.

According to the chamberlain, Martin Wilhelm (SPD), improvement is in sight in 2024 at the earliest; but it could be a long time coming. With luck and skill, the city has recently achieved four positive annual results in a row. But as long as fluctuating trade tax revenues and the key allocations from the state, which are also unstable in terms of amount, are among the most important sources of income for the municipalities, the roller coaster ride that has been experienced for years will also continue in Offenbach. Because after just over a year there is immediately significantly less money from the municipal financial equalization. Even if it is foreseeable that the income will be lower again in the following year anyway.

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Without a crystal ball and visionary skills, it hardly seems possible to make reliable statements about medium-term financial developments. If things go wrong for Offenbach, the liquid funds of almost 43 million euros that were only recently set aside are used up faster than expected. And if – despite the successful new settlements on the former Clariant site – nothing or not enough happens on the income side, the well-known adjustment screws have to be turned again. The trade tax with 440 points and the property tax with 890 points are already at a “top level”. The traffic light coalition wants to leave both tax rates unchanged. However, the city – and that is like squaring the circle – shouldn’t accumulate any more new debts.

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