25 April, 2014

Christophe Béchu, new Angers Loire Métropole president, wants to stimulate economy but with lesser resources

Sitôt élu à la présidence d'Angers Loire Métropole, le maire d'Angers, Christophe Béchu, a annoncé ses priorités. La première, très consensuelle, sera le développement économique. Celui-ci est d'autant plus indispensable qu'il fournira à Alm les ressources dont elle a besoin alors qu'il est acquis que les dotations de l'Etat iront en diminuant. Le mode de gouvernance de cette institution préservera le travail collectif : les groupements par communes ou sensibilités politiques resteront proscrits. Mais le nouveau président en a visiblement marre du formalisme avec lequel se prennent les décisions s'appuyant sur celui de... sa propre élection.

Credit picture : Angers Loire Métropole
The task will be hard and and the resources will be scarce. Christophe Béchu, elected on April 24th, president of the board of the 33 towns and villages members of Angers Loire Métropole (Alm), is eager to get to the heart of the matter : the economic development. "This is the top priority of our authority", he said after his election, aware that there is a tough competition between the economic areas and Alm needs fiscal resources to work. "The economic development is the first solidarity. An additional economic development is a lesser need for solidarity", outlined Mr. Béchu who promised "strategy, instruments and leverages" and also "resources sharing". A first exemple of that way is the concentration of the economy, research and higher education fields in the Alm area "in a single hand". His standpoint was not criticized by his opposition.

Housing will be another issue of attention for the Alm board. "We have to focus on the goals and principles of the building economy. The costs of flats or houses are restraining the purchases. We have to consider the urban forms, the quantity and the quality of the offer", announced the president which also stressed that regarding the second tramway line, "it will not be longer than 8 km". Its financing and route will be studied soon, stated Mr. Béchu who, as Marc Goua, Trélazé mayor and member of parliament reminded, "the state allocations will be cut". That new equation - to stimulate the economic development with lesser resources - will be the topic of a seminar of the members of the Alm board dedicated to finances.

The new president also disclosed that the applicable governance method under Jean-Claude Antonini's term will no change : the rules and regulations of the board will still prohibit the constitution of political or geographical groups of towns or villages. "We are not here to work for personal of municipal interests" warned Mr. Béchu who urged the members to think about the commom stakes they had through Alm. In order to prevent critics about the fact the Angers mayor will manage Alm, the president dispatched the 15 deputy-presidencies between Angers (6) and others members (9). Some of them have been entrusted to left mayors. Those, through Mr. Goua, stressed that they will not give to the Alm president "carte blanche".

Another point, more practical but quite symbolic, is the method of decision. Obviously, Christophe Béchu wants efficiency and the 20 mn necessary to elect him at the presidency despite the fact he was the only candidate is something he doesn't want to see anymore. "Now, get back to work", he concluded.

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