Cost explosion in the renovation of the St.Gallen fire department depot: The trust of the electorate is damaged as a result
The renovation and expansion of the building for the fire brigade and civil defense costs almost a sixth more than the voters approved in 2019 with a clear majority. That is a very bad signal that the city council is sending out here.
With a yes-vote of 87 percent, the people of St.Gallen said yes in November 2019 to the renovation and expansion of the fire brigade and civil defense building. The loan of around 20 million francs was completely undisputed. Even more: The huge yes was a vote of confidence in the blue light organization, in the city parliament and the city council.
And now this: Before the first craftsmen have started work, the city council comes to the city parliament with a supplementary loan. This has it all: the renovation costs almost 3.2 million francs more than was submitted to the electorate a year and a half ago. The template is a helpless attempt to explain, or in other words: an extensive catalog of failures and omissions.
One thing is clear: the fire brigade and civil defense need a modern infrastructure. What they achieve in a pandemic or flood deserves respect and recognition. It sounds like a mockery that the first cost estimate did not include cooling in the common rooms where the members of the professional fire brigade sleep when they are on call.
The supplementary credit of three million francs is likely to trigger discussions in the city parliament. Anyway, he’ll get away with it. And that’s right. Because: if the fire brigade is on duty, human lives are at stake. With this supplementary loan, however, the city council severely damaged the trust of those entitled to vote in St.Gallen, and in view of the large investments that are pending, it sent a very bad signal.