The Taxpayer Association documents more than 100 cases of public waste in its new Black Book. Rhineland-Palatinate will be present this year with seven cases.
Every year in the fall, the Taxpayers' League publishes its black book with the subtitle "Public Waste." This year the focus is on the topic "Explosion of construction costs". Also in Rhineland-Palatinate, the club has made a find – and documented a total of seven cases in which the country or the municipalities have spent his tax money completely nonsensical.
1st compulsory wedding of Maikammer and Edenkoben
Since 2010 Rhineland-Palatinate has implemented a territorial reform. Although the Taxpayers' Association rates this as "urgently needed", it criticizes a concrete case in which a forced merger ultimately had to be reversed. The municipality Maikammer in the South Palatinate with its 8,000 inhabitants successfully fought in court against the merger with neighboring Edenkoben, because the country had violated its own municipal reform law.
The law stipulates that associations with less than 12,000 inhabitants should be incorporated into other municipalities. However, there is one exception: if the affected community has "long-term financially viable structures", it can continue to administer itself. This was the case in Maikammer, ruled the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate – but only a year after the communal forced wedding had already been completed.
The failed merger and their repayment cost the taxpayer, according to research by the taxpayers' association nearly three million euros. In Maikammer amounted to 1.1 million in material, personnel and process costs, in Edenkoben it was even 1.6 million. The Taxpayers' Association speaks of an "avoidable mistake" and makes it clear: "Territorial reform as such is right and important, but it should be self-evident that the country adheres to its own legislation."
2. Renovation of the old police building in Idar-Oberstein
The police station in Idar-Oberstein is over 150 years old, the last time it was renovated in 1994. In 2014, the Rhineland-Palatinate property management and construction company announced "small, locally very limited interventions" for refurbishment, but refrained from a detailed analysis the condition of the building so as not to interfere with the operation of the police.
As the construction began, it became apparent that the building's condition was significantly worse than expected. Originally, the renovation should be completed in autumn 2016 and cost around 3.1 million euros. Meanwhile, it is clear: The renovation will be completed at the earliest in the summer of 2019 and costs at least 6.9 million euros. There are also rental and conversion costs for alternative accommodation of more than 620,000 euros.
"Certainly it was well meant not to disturb the police operation unnecessarily," writes the taxpayers' association. For this reason, the police would spend years in temporary accommodation and the question arises as to why a new building had not even been considered: "Restoration at any price can only be a fiasco for the taxpayer."
3. Pension trickery for the former OB of Koblenz
In 2009, the former Rhineland-Palatinian State Secretary Joachim Hofmann-Göttig successfully competed in the mayoral election in Koblenz. Normally, the change to the new office would have been associated with financial disadvantages – Hofmann-Göttig would have retired without special benefits from the state service. However, the then Prime Minister Kurt Beck (SPD) transferred him a few days before the appointment to the OB in the temporary retirement. As a result, he received in addition to his benefits from the land a retirement pension of more than 1,000 euros per month.
In addition, explosive: According to press reports Koblenz has to take over after the departure of Hofmann-Göttig as mayor in April 2018 as the last employer a large part of his pension payments, although he was Secretary of State for almost 20 years. The auditors estimate the total burden of the city at around 700,000 euros. Koblenz had a report prepared and is considering a lawsuit against the country.
The Taxpayers Association writes that the monarchy in Germany is dead, but the "political bad habit of giving money for minions" has remained apparent. There had been no legal necessity for the retirement of Hofmann-Göttig. "Democracy and arbitrariness are incompatible, which is why non-essential retirement transfers with a golden handshake are abolished."
4. Financing of the Competence Center "Voluntary Pay Tests"
Women and men should also receive the same pay for equal work – the "Voluntary Pay Tests" competence center is to advise companies in Rhineland-Palatinate on how to achieve this goal. Since 2015, the Competence Center has been funded by the state and the EU with a total of 550,000 euros. However, there is little interest in their offer, criticized the taxpayer association. According to the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Center of Competence has only held four events per year on average since its founding and has addressed a total of around 90 small and medium-sized enterprises.
Perhaps the interest in a consultation is also low, because the so-called "gender pay gap" in Rhineland-Palatinate is not very high, if you cleanse it by factors such as education, occupation and working hours, says the federal taxpayers. "Well-meaning flyers with gender asterisks can not eliminate structural differences. (…) In view of the embarrassing result, the promotion should be stopped quickly." Placebo policy is not worth a single tax cent. "
5. Cost explosion during the construction of the "Rheinbalkons" in St. Goar
For originally 408,000 euros, St. Goar wanted to build a ship-shaped lookout platform on the banks of the Rhine in the Rhein-Hunsrück district in order to improve the view of the river. In the end, the so-called Rhine balcony will probably cost 2.4 million euros. The Taxpayers' Association finds the city's explanations to the reasons sound like "a prime example of bad planning and botched construction".
For example, the construction site equipment has proved to be very difficult because of the different water levels and currents. "Who would have even guessed that on the Rhine?", Etters the taxpayers' association. And comes to the conclusion: "The 'Rhine balcony' as such is already an unnecessary project, because after all, St. Goar has a well-developed Rhine promenade." It gets worse by the extreme cost explosion. "In the end, St. Goar has to ask himself if the policy of 'Keep it up' was right, whatever the exit costs – the actual costs would have been hard to beat."
6. Unfavorable development contract in Grünstadt
On a former industrial site in Grünstadt (district of Bad Dürkheim) a construction area was created. The private law development of the so-called Didier site took over the same company and concluded in 2006 a contract with the city. This undertook to do the final extension of the streets and sidewalks as well as the greening in the area – Didier paid for 110,000 euros.
The actual construction costs were a few years later but then at 630,000 euros. As justification, the city stated that between 2006 and 2018 road construction cost at least 20 percent. Why would city officials at that time on the low distance payment admitted, is not known.
The city does not come out of the contract, possible recourse claims against the then responsible person are barred – so Grünstadt remains at the additional cost of about 500,000 euros sitting. "How about a decent contract management and controlling?" Asks the taxpayer association.
7. Bridge over Koblenzer Straße in Mainz
Already in their Black Book of 2016, the taxpayer association had criticized the Rhineland-Palatinate state capital Mainz, because this built a bridge without buying the necessary land for road access. The bridge over the Koblenzer Straße, completed in 2015, was intended for a better connection to the Johannes Gutenberg University. Since then, the roadworks rest because the land question was not resolved.
After three years, the construction work was resumed and should be completed by the turn of the year. The alliance of taxpayers, however, criticized the additional costs of more than 360,000 euros, which were caused by structural supplementary payments, a new ground investigation, interest and downtime costs. "It is good that the Mainzer Pannenbrücke can soon be used appropriately," writes the club. "Wherever people work, mistakes certainly happen – but this breakdown was absolutely unworthy of the administration of a state capital."