20 September, 2014

The Maine-et-Loire general council faces "serious" financial difficulties

Le Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, comme d'autres Conseils généraux, est aux prises avec de sérieuses difficultés financières. Selon son président, la baisse des recettes et la hausse des depenses, due à l'aggravation de la pauvreté, obligent à vendre des actifs et à emprunter, ce qui alourdit une dette qu'il faudra rembourser.

The Maine-et-Loire general council faces serious financial difficulties. According to his president, Christian Gilet, "In the current conditions, the 2015 budget is infeasible. In order to balance it, we should next year increase taxes in unreasonables proportions, we should halt the payment of the active solidarity allowance, what we will not do of course". The revenues of the department authority will decrease by 12 millions and its expenses will increase by 10
millions on next year, precisely because of the rise of that allocation since last September 1st.

In order to fill the gap, 22 millions euros, Mr. Gillet announces the general council has to save money in the capital as well as the operating budgets. Regarding the last one, in which the wages of the staff sum up 100 millions euros, "The retirements, about 15 to 20 persons per year, will not be replaced". But that will not be sufficient, the president says the authority has no other choice but to borow money by 9 millions euros which will burden its current debt : 453 millions euros. It has been calculated that, while a few years ago, the previous debt would have absorbed 8 yearly budgets, the total repayment of the debt would today absorb 12 of those.

In order to get cash, the general council is selling all kinds of assets (mansions, woodlands, equities). It plans to gather in a single place departments currently scattered all over Angers (with the new building in Foch boulevard). Even the finance department is not sheltered in the general council but in a bank, for 200 000 euros per year. The authority is not anymore able to support some of its major operations. Anjou Velo Vintage (1.2 million euros) will have to be managed with Angers and so could leave Saumur. The 2015 edition may start in the Terra Botanica park, itself in difficult conditions. "If we had to launch it now, I am not sure we would do so", precises Mr. Gilet who also confesses : "I hadn't thougth the situation was so serious".

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