The municipality of Weyhe plans a total of 17.5 million euros in the budget for investments in 2021. (Graphics: Btag)
The Weyher municipal council did not unanimously, but accepted the budget for the coming year 2021. In the vote, which took place almost at the last minute by circulation, that is by correspondence, only the FDP voted against it. Due to the increasingly aggravated situation regarding the corona pandemic and the resulting stricter lockdown, the administration had canceled the initially still publicly planned meeting on December 15 in the council chamber the day before. Now the political groups have come to this conclusion.
The municipality of Weyhe plans to invest 17.5 million euros in the coming year, but it cannot do it on its own. About half of the money – with an amount of 8.5 million euros – has to be obtained through loans. A “no” to the budget for 2021 was therefore given by the FDP parliamentary group. She has been calling for debt reduction for years. “Without loans, we can no longer even cover our running costs. We are therefore doing business at the expense of future generations, ”criticized group leader Antje Sengstake in her written budget speech. In addition, she criticized the fact that road expansion contributions were still being levied in Weyhe and that the municipality would have received 300,000 euros in the current year “from citizens who are also suffering from the pandemic, who may be on short-time work or even have lost their jobs”, said Sengstake continues with. According to its own statements, the parliamentary group had already submitted an application to abolish the contributions on February 7th.
The other political groups approved the 2021 budget. “Of course that is not satisfactory,” said Annika Bruck (Greens) with a view to an unbalanced budget because the investments would have to be financed entirely through borrowing. In the case of “what is possible and what is not possible”, she gave the example of the changing room of the central sports facility (ZSA), which is to be refurbished and not newly built or refurbished. In this household she considered it important to start expanding the use of photovoltaics.
Both points as well as digitization were also supported by the SPD parliamentary group, which also spoke out in favor of investments in education and care. However, the income situation of the community must be improved. The parliamentary group expressed concern about the high personnel costs, which are increasing, for example, due to new day-care centers – “not just once, but continuously”, said parliamentary group leader Rainer Zottmann. At 26.2 million euros, according to administrative information, those costs make up the largest expenditure item in the earnings budget, which depicts ongoing administrative activities. Eleven million euros of this goes to the daycare area.
The Christian Democrats also agreed to the budget: “It is important for the CDU in Weyhe to defeat the pandemic, strengthen the health facilities, provide reliable school lessons and look after the small children,” said CDU Chairman Dietrich Struthoff. In addition, the redevelopment of the Cooperative Comprehensive School Leeste must be completed “and the redevelopment of the Leeste town center with its large building projects is continuing. All of this will be secured by the 2021 budget ”.
Torsten Kobelt, the only representative of “Die Party” in the council, is of the opinion that things will only get down to business in 2021. “I’m gathering my strength for the big challenges in the next year,” he said when asked. He too has approved the budget.
First councilor Ina Pundsack-Bleith described the budget with a total volume of 62 million euros as balanced – “as required by law. However, this was only possible by drawing on part of the surplus reserves, which meanwhile totaled around 37 million euros. ”Income tax (17.7 million euros) and trade tax, however, fell to 11.3 million euros due to the corona. In the financial budget, i.e. the area that maps the payment flows, there are investments totaling 17.5 million euros. “If we exhaust the credit authorization of 8.5 million euros – which I hope not – we would have a theoretical debt level of around 41.7 million euros by the end of 2021,” said Pundsack-Bleith.
According to Mayor Frank Seidel (SPD), the focus remains on “education, training, education”. The schools sector alone accounts for 41.8 percent of the investment volume. Overall, in view of the “figures” for 2021, Seidel spoke of a “balancing act between the required austerity course and the main focus areas”, a “balancing act with solid budget management in times of crisis on the one hand and constant ability to act for current and upcoming tasks on the other” and added: “That was really sporty. “In 20 years of local politics, he has never seen such a budget or such a creation, said the mayor.
The budget was finally approved by a majority with four votes against by the FDP parliamentary group, as the administration announced after the circulation procedure had ended. The unanimous result of the community library in the committee for sport and culture at the beginning of November was now also reflected in the community council. Your central location at Henry-Wetjen-Platz – opening expected in mid-2022 – is therefore a done deal.