When bertram felix became financial officer of the city of bamberg, the world was reeling from an unprecedented financial crisis. Municipalities such as bamberg were also hit hard by the crash in trade tax revenues. Twelve years later, the drama seems to be repeating itself, but with much greater force. Felix almost runs out of words when he describes the latest tax estimates: "dramatic is almost too positive a word when i look into the black hole that will open up in 2021. We are experiencing two dark years."
Nine weeks to go, then bamberg's city councils will traditionally sit down to spend the city's money – 300 million euros are in principle to be distributed, an energy-sapping ritual in which heads smoke and opinions clash. 2020 it could be that the power meeting will be cancelled due to a lack of masses – because the mandatory services required by law are already eating up the budget.
40 million euros is the accumulated deficit for next year, as calculated from the forecasts for bamberg. This scenario involves a halving of the expected business tax revenue to only 20 to 25 million euros. The losses in income tax of up to eight million euros have also been factored in, the follow-up costs of the daycare initiative will run into millions – and, unlike in 2020, the federal and state governments will no longer be helping the municipalities.
Felix prepares for tough discussions. For what sounds abstract at the moment was allowed to become a test of fray in a demanding urban society. 2020 is no longer "just" the year about the purely voluntary services, without which many clubs are threatened in their existence. "We will have to focus on what is the core task of a municipality – the purely legal contractual obligations."
What belongs, what doesn't? Four cost blocks are to be left out of the strike concert: school building renovation, kitas, railroad expansion and conversion. Felix also considers investments such as the expansion of the brose site (see today's page 9) to be indispensable. For the first time in a long time, a number of institutions with large audiences will be affected: the adult education center, the city library, the theater and the music school. Their budget is to be discussed. And of course, the city's own staff is also expected to make a contribution – at 84 million euros, it represents the largest block of costs in the administrative budget. Betram felix talks about efficiency increases and a completely new personnel cost structure.
Fixed-term contracts taboo in the future?
What does franz eibl say? The chairman of the staff council warns that the consequences of the corona crisis should not be borne by the employees themselves. Last week, the personnel senate had not without reason banned fixed-term contracts in the city, which had been common practice for years. Those who worsen the working conditions in the city contribute to the fact that it becomes more difficult for the administration to find suitable junior staff.
From his point of view, the financial situation of the city is better than presented. This is also supported by the counter-financing from the federal government for 2020, which has been fixed in the meantime and which came only after the blocking list decided by the city council in the summer. "So there is some money left over for 2021", says Eibl.