In Figeac the budget is voted without affecting taxation
As announced, the mayor of Figeac wanted to bring forward the vote on the 2023 budget in order to start construction sites for the year as soon as possible. The city council met on Monday, March 13. Those elected worked a good part of the evening on the finances of the municipality.
As usual, André Mellinger took the lead in presenting the budget outline. “It’s in line with the guidelines, the debates that we’ve had,” he said. For 2023, the operating segment stands at 13.450 million euros, with an increase of 5%. “A great effort” weighs on general expenses with a +23.38% for gas and electricity costs. Personnel costs, “the most important part”, rose by over 7.86 million euro.
On the revenue front, the Municipality is aiming for a slight increase in taxes and duties to 8.8 million euros. Bases are expected to rise more than 7% but council rates won’t budge.
“For the 12th consecutive year I advise you not to increase tariffs” asked the mayor who continued with the investment section, the balance of which exceeds 7 million euros (compared to 5.6 million in 2022). The largest program undertaken is the restoration of the Carmes gendarmerie for over 650,000 euros, then the works for the Balène hall are expected to arrive in the autumn for 440,000 euros, works for the Surgié campsite estimated at 155,000 euros. The supply of 100,000 euros for the site revitalization project, the greening of the courtyard of the Chapou school (256,000 euros) and the expansion of the kitchen of the Louis Barrié school (175,000 euros). “The development of the Pratges site is one of the dossiers with big question marks” commented the mayor before starting the debate.
The two opposition groups abstain
Philippe Landrein hailed “an inflection”. “I tend to tell you, keep it up, in three years it will give us something to grind […] I don’t see any indication or clear path through the investments that are proposed to us”. “The mandate is a cross-country race, not a sprint” replied André Mellinger who defended the choices of the majority. For Vivre Figeac, Patricia Gontier rightly deplored the lack of “arbitration” before asking several times for details on the future of Surgié, at the heart of a project which, according to her, would be around 7 million euros. On this delicate issue, the mayor called on the elected officials of the opposition to be “cautious”, who all abstained (six votes) in the vote on the main budget and on the rates of local direct taxes.
Voted aid for shop lighting and lively debate around the work of the wood heating network
Before looking at the budget data, the mayor proposed to the city council the immediate release of aid of 20,000 euros (included in the 2023 budget) in favor of companies struggling for several months with a series of thefts. The shutdown of public lighting in the city center from 00:30 to 6:00, decided since autumn as part of the energy sobriety plan, worries many residents and professionals who have asked the Municipality to review the copy.
In response, exceptional financial support is being made available to retailers wishing to fit their shop with a security system, in particular external presence sensing lighting. “The idea is above all to make up for the lack of lighting or to help with any other safety device,” explained André Mellinger. The measure was approved unanimously by elected officials. The aid can be applied for now and will be given in the form of a grant. The amount is equal to 50% of the amount excluding VAT of the purchase of the equipment and/or the installation of this equipment by a professional, limited to a maximum of 400 euros per operation, i.e. a maximum municipal aid of 200 euros.
“The pipe is expensive…”
On the occasion of the water and sanitation balance, a dossier was discussed: the installation of a new wood heating network by Syded du Lot next to the Masbou college. Otherwise, the Figeac group asked for explanations on the renovation works of the water and sewage networks contextual to the construction of the wood-burning boiler. “For 3.3 km, over 3 million euros of investment […] the pipe is expensive,” emphasized Philippe Landrein. “This work must be done before installing the heating mains. Shelf space per section has been calculated to the nearest metre. We come to this addition which may seem phenomenal. We would have done without this investment but these are networks that have been renewed for at least 70 years” replied the deputy mayor, Antoine Soto in charge of the file who defended “this anticipatory work”. For his part, Philippe Brouqui conveyed the concerns of local residents. “The neighborhood is very concerned about fine dust, odors, even transportation which is a problem as the site has been moved further down the road, without consultation.” The deputy mayor Guillaume Baldy defended the advantages for the city of this new wood heating network which will allow “to lower the bill of energy-intensive buildings (hospitals, universities, high schools, etc.)” and will only have “very limited in terms of air pollution (specific filters)”.