Why Boxtel remains economical despite black numbers

General

Not only will Boxtel have an amount of no less than 4.4 million euros over 2021, the municipality will also post millions in black numbers in the coming years. Nevertheless, the municipal council holds a tight hand on the wallet, says finance councilor Hans Heesen. Mainly due to the so-called upscaling discount, a ghost from the past of municipal reclassifications.

The upscaling rebate was created in 2012 by the government to force municipalities to merge. This was led by the then Minister of the Interior Ronald Plasterk. Larger municipalities (of about 100,000 inhabitants) could work more efficiently and thus save costs. With this in mind, the municipalities are cutting back on the municipal coffers, the pool from which the municipalities get most of their revenue.

The promise that ‘upscaling’ would lead to cost savings has not been fulfilled in the last decade. It also emerged from recent studies from 2019 and 2021 by IPSE Studies from Delft and economist Thomas Niaounakis from TU Delft, respectively. However, the state’s cuts, or ‘upscaling rebate’, have been maintained. It was to rise to a billion euros, but was ‘frozen’ a few years ago: Many municipalities got into financial difficulties because they were also given extra tasks from the government, the so-called decentralizations.

However, Boxtel fears that the move will still be fully implemented. “If we were to reverse budget cuts now, we risk missing millions in 2026,” explains Councilor Heesen. The implementation of the 54 planned cuts is therefore still in full swing. Boxtel has already reduced costs by more than two million euros, in particular with regard to the law on social assistance (8.5 tonnes), youth care (1.3 tonnes) and income supply (1.4 tonnes). “We are well on our way, but we still need to cut back significantly. We still have to borrow for around 1.2 million euros this year, “says Heesen.

MUNICIPAL FUND

However, the fact that Boxtel has booked black numbers in the past year is not only due to the cuts. What is called: most of it was caused by the corona pandemic. For example, 1.9 million euros will still be spent this year, often overdue work that could not be carried out last year due to corona. In addition to this type of one-time expense, regular activities did not always have to take place. Heesen: ,, A good example is student driving. Last year, there were far fewer trips because schools were often closed. Many activities in the arts and culture sector have also been canceled. ”

BUDGET 2022

Many of the costs will return this year. Councilor Heesen does not expect to have much left in 2022. But the following years will: an amount of 1.2 million in 2023 rises to 2.8 million euros in 2025. Ironically, it is due to the government: a new redistribution mechanism of the municipal fund will benefit Boxtel from 2023, it was announced in March. “We had initially taken into account 10 euros less per capita, but it became 25 euros per capita more,” explains Heesen.

In addition, the so-called May circular, which was published late by the central government, has not yet been incorporated into the figures. This contains the latest information on the distribution of funds from the municipal coffers. “This could make it even more positive for Boxtel in the coming years at the bottom of the line,” Heesen believes.

However, the money Boxtel is expected to have left goes to the regular piggy bank. Heesen emphasizes that the board does not intend to loosen the reins anymore, especially due to the upscaling discount. “But also because of the current uncertain economic situation,” the councilor adds. He refers, among other things, to the war in Ukraine: It is unwise to take economic risks now.

LOCAL TAXES

Local taxes will increase in the coming years with inflation, as the current council in B and W has agreed. What the residents pay in property tax (ozb), wastewater tax and waste tax is therefore related to the price index.

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