THE HOGELAND – The city council unanimously approved B&W’s plans for next year’s budget. These plans – called the Framework Memorandum – indicate how the council of b. and W. plan to fill in the housekeeping book next year and the years after. All factions were concerned about the consequences of the energy crisis for the residents of Het Hogeland.
Anne Marie Smits (GroenLinks) sketched the general situation with major regions very accurately: ”Are we going from gas country to host country with Het Hogeland? In July last year I started my contribution to the General Reflections on Corona, we were in that crisis then and now. Corona laid out in detail how it is with solidarity in our country. Do we still feel connected to each other or is it every man for himself and God for us all? Are we still prepared to take into account the vulnerable who are having a hard time: the elderly, young people, people with disabilities, people without a job or refugees, who have nothing left at all? The crises are now tumbling over each other, the daily news is full of misery. The corona crisis, the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, the refugee crisis… You would almost forget that we are among the richest inhabitants on this planet.” That is the context in which the city council should try to do what is necessary for the inhabitants. And especially what the municipality can do in this situation. This concerns an annual budget of about 165 million euros. About half of that goes to the social domain. It will not be too bad in the coming years, the numbers will still be black, but before 2026 there is a risk of a financial ravine due to all kinds of factors outside the municipality.
All parties spoke out for maximum efforts by the municipal authorities to combat the consequences of the energy crisis and exploding inflation. Kor Berghuis (CDA): “We propose to pay specific attention in the budget to high inflation and to energy poverty among residents, but also to companies and the various facilities such as village houses, and to make every effort to prevent additional price increases. occur with the various taxes and levies.” He did set the tone.
“The residents have a lot to choose from. The municipality must be there for the residents, if the central government comes in too late with resources, we must give priority, with our own resources, to support residents in acute need,” said Linda Visser of Lokaal Social. De ChristenUnie: “Because we see a lot of negative developments coming towards our residents, we think it is advisable to create a kind of noose post with which we can help them,” says Bernd de Jong. Similarly, the party of the PvdA Janny Klei “asks the council to look in the short term” to investigate in the short term, in addition to the extra allowance for the minimum wages arranged by the national government, what other options are available to this ever-growing group financially. to support. Some of the people with middle incomes also have a very hard time financially.”
Alderman Mariette de Visser stated: “We are doing everything we can. People can call on special assistance for emergency assistance. We have already relaxed the scheme for the energy surcharge. For the village houses, youth clubs and other institutions, I want to look closely at a scheme that can alleviate the rising energy costs. There is tension between what the government announces in support on Budget Day and what we as a municipality want and can do.” She pointed out that the scheme for support for making homes more sustainable by private individuals is ready and will be announced shortly.
“A news: There are five building plots in Roodeschool ready”
Concerns about the housing market. Also widely shared by all political groups. Janny Klei: Our group proposes to make extra effort in the housing plans for flexible housing, temporary, decent housing. Our status holders want decent housing and to be a real part of our community. But don’t forget our young people, our starters on the housing market. They are now often forced to continue living with their parents because there is simply no suitable home available. Let us also act quickly in this regard and ensure that the housing shortage in our municipality does not become a housing crisis. Alderman de Visser reported that last year’s housing vision has been converted into an implementation plan in which housing associations take on the improvement and new construction of homes. De Visser: “It is not possible in 52 villages at the same time, this has to be worked out specifically for each village.” B&W announced as news that five building plots in Roodeschool are ready.
The formation, the staffing of the municipality, was the other shared concern of the city council. There will be a separate technical council meeting in which the whole of the municipality’s staffing will be discussed.
Alderman Eltjo Dijkhuis was accused of having many PM items in the Framework Memorandum. These are memorandum items, for which the Commission knows that money is needed, but cannot yet indicate how much. “We do not want the development of the municipality to come to a halt. There are subjects for which we have indicated that something will be done about them, there will be developments that we do not yet have clear. A PM item is there because that subject has yet to be further developed into a concrete budget item.
Dijkhuis, as alderman for finance, also has the inflation problem on his desk. VVD member Gerard ten Brink suggested raising municipal taxes by a long-term moderate inflation rate: ”The aforementioned uncertain times also have consequences for the municipal tax burden. Normally we as VVD would be happy with only a correction to inflation as an increase in municipal taxes. With the current double digit inflation, this is getting too high for the VVD. As far as the VVD is concerned, we cannot pass on such a significant increase in taxes to our residents, entrepreneurs and other taxpayers.” Dijkhuis: “Normally we use an inflation increase of about 1.8 percent. I understand the sensitivity to the effect of the soaring inflation, but I cannot give a concrete answer to that right now. It also depends on what is said about this on Prinsjesdag. That will only become clear when we come up with the bill for municipal rates and taxes at a later date.”
Linda Visser championed the foundationsteenbreak.nl. This is a network of experts that is committed to stopping the fossilization and greening the living environment in the Netherlands sustainably. Alderman for green Stefan van Keizerswaard promised her that the municipality will join Steenbraak. That costs 2,500 euros per year./BM