Why do my belts keep shrinking

Corona pandemic: Schweinfurt is tightening its belt

The good years are over, you can say that when you look at the city's draft budget for 2021. From 2010 to 2018, the income from business tax only gushed up to 73 million euros in the record year 2018. Since then, it has slumped, in the Corona year 2020 to only 27 million euros. The city's dependence on this income has always been above average, which in exceptional situations, as is the case at the moment, takes double revenge.

Finance officer Anna Barbara Keck did not even know the word "savings budget" in the past few years, but she knows very well how to spell it, which confirms her consistent and prudent actions this year. Already in March and April with the first lockdown, the dramatic collapse in business tax became apparent, because originally 60 million euros had been set. There was a budget lock that was only lifted in autumn and the requirement for 2021 to cut spending by 20 percent wherever this is possible and does not contradict mandatory tasks or legal requirements. This does not meet with general approval, as was recently demonstrated in the discussions in the committees.

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If you take a look at the revenue forecasts for 2021 and the next few years in relation to the planned projects, the reduction is a sensible measure as long as it is not clear how the economic situation in Germany will develop. This is important for Schweinfurt because numerous companies are located here in large-scale industry that, as automotive suppliers, deliver worldwide and also have to manage the change towards electromobility.

This year, the city will be helped by the municipal rescue package, from which the loss of trade tax - by far the highest of all independent cities in Bavaria - is almost completely offset. But will it also exist in 2021? Keck plans to generate 35 million euros in income from trade tax in 2021 and hopes to increase to 50 million by 2024.

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Nevertheless, this means that the budget is far from being balanced, the planned deficit is 37 million euros. The city must take out loans to balance the budget, which will be possible for the first time from 2021, and use up the reserve of currently 90 million euros by 2024 almost completely. No wonder that the administration has drawn up a plan of where savings can be made, which projects should be implemented when and under which conditions and which should be canceled - one for the budget consultations from Monday, November 16 (8 a.m.) in the conference center on Maininsel of the most important questions.

The budget shrinks significantly compared to 2020: In terms of income from trade tax, income and sales tax shares and municipal taxes, 202 million euros are expected, 25 million less than in 2020. Expenses will decrease by three million to 239 million euros. For Keck it is clear: "Due to the current financial framework, it is imperative to use all potential savings."

"We have to tighten our belts."
Lord Mayor Sebastian Remelé (CSU) on the city budget for 2021.

Lord Mayor Sebastian Remelé (CSU) spoke of a "crisis-ridden situation." The city is "particularly affected" by the pandemic because of the collapsing trade tax, but also because it is intensifying "like a burning glass" because of the transformation to electromobility that is taking place in the supplier industry.

"We have to tighten our belts," said the mayor, who also pointed out that he was getting positive signals from the Schweinfurt companies, as they had full order books and high capacity utilization. As in previous months, Remelé emphasized several times that the administration is sticking to the continuation of all liveable urban development projects - including the State Garden Show 2026, the construction of the cultural forum and the renovation of the theater. "We do not save for the sake of saving, but drive on sight, continue to invest and receive the voluntary benefits," said the OB. But you have to be aware that you will not be able to keep the current pace with the projects and that you have to set new priorities.

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