the Department’s finances on a dangerous slope

the Department’s finances on a dangerous slope
the Department’s finances on a dangerous slope

A strangulation in sight for the finances of the Department of Deux-Sèvres. In 2023, the community has lost 20% of what taxes on real estate transactions bring in (1). Because fewer homes are being sold. And because housing prices are falling. In two years, 40% of this revenue has disappeared, i.e. €20 million in shortfall. At the same time, operating expenses increased by €40 million. As a result, €60 million must be found.

“It doesn’t bring good news”

Deux-Sèvres is not alone on this dangerous slope: neighboring Charente-Maritime, much more dependent on the real estate market, met this Monday, June 24, 2024 to find solutions. “Some departments are in financial impasse this year. The press regularly reports on emergency measures taken to avoid bankruptcy: reduction in subsidies, cessation of support for municipalities, freezing of investments… This will not be the case at least this year in Deux-Sèvres”declared Coralie Dénoues, president of the departmental council, that same day, while elected officials were sitting to vote on €35 million in new spending, mainly in favor of social issues and youth.

We will note the “at least this year”. The department’s chief financier, Thierry Marolleau, describes the spiral that awaits. The risk: that savings no longer make it possible to finance investments. This will require taking on working capital, but these are not inexhaustible.

The reduction in debt carried out in recent years provides a breath of fresh air. But in 2024, revenues from real estate transactions will follow the same trajectory as in 2023: “Between minus 20 and minus 25%”indicates Hervé Cochetel, general director of services. “And the dynamics of VAT are below forecasts: this does not bode well”, he adds. Part of the VAT goes into the Departments’ coffers. 2025 risks being the year of all dangers. All this while “perhaps the Departments have never been as important to the populations as at the moment”, notes the co-leader of the opposition, Dorick Barrillot, citing the June 2023 report from the Observatory of Inequalities. Social matters remain the number one skill of the community.

What do we have planned to get through this? During these debates, which lasted more than four hours non-stop, no concrete ideas were put forward. “I recommend questioning our organization for greater efficiency”declares Thierry Marolleau. “We must convert these constraints into energy to initiate the necessary transformations and adaptations to enable the community to maintain its capacity to act”comments for her part Coralie Dénoues.

The opposition abstained during the vote on the supplementary budget: “We are saving the furniture but until when? », asks Élodie Truong (canton of Niort-2) pointing out the uncertainties. Uncertainties also linked to what will come out of the polls on June 30 and July 7. But on June 24, the majority and the opposition had found in advance a modus vivendi not to mention the national context. The eye of the storm in the middle of chaos.

(1) DMTO, transfer taxes for valuable consideration, paid on each purchase of real estate.

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