The City of Neuchâtel sees red

The City of Neuchâtel sees red
The City of Neuchâtel sees red

The City of Neuchâtel in the red figures. The merged municipality presented its 2023 accounts on Wednesday. The financial year shows a deficit of 9,459,064 francs. A slightly better result than the 11 million losses forecast in the budget.

These figures may seem worrying, but they must be put into perspective. The withdrawal of 10 million francs from the economic reserve, which had been budgeted, was ultimately not made. “If we had done so, we could have announced balanced accounts,” notes Didier Boillat, municipal councilor in charge of finances.

Despite these negative accounts presented on Wednesday, the authorities explained that they were “satisfied” with certain figures, in particular the savings made with regard to operating costs. “The various measures taken have allowed us to save 4 or 5 million each year,” insists Didier Boillat.

Tax revenues and investments on the rise

Beyond the deficit, these 2023 accounts of the City of Neuchâtel show several important elements. First, tax revenues from legal entities have increased significantly, by around 12 million francs compared to the previous year.

Also on the net investment side, the authorities note an increase. They exceeded 35 million francs last year, an increase of 2 million compared to 2022. The City further specifies that “71% of these investments have been made”, the highest rate in the legislature.

Self-financing on the right track

Another piece of data gives a smile to the municipal councilor in charge of finances when reading these 2023 accounts: self-financing, or “the ability of the City to finance its own investments”. While the budget provided for almost zero self-financing (0.06%), it reached 28.59% in 2023. “We have to remain modest, but it’s a satisfaction,” estimates Didier Boillat. The municipal councilor explains, however, that “the standards of good practice are at 70 or 80%”. There is therefore still a way to go before facing “gigantic challenges” in the coming years.

Uncertain future

As for the direction that the City’s finances will take in the coming years, the authorities remain cautious. Inflation, the slowdown in the economy, significant demands for investment and the fact that corporate taxes will be cut this year are all elements that could prevent Neuchâtel from returning to black figures. /gjo


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