Around 80 to 100 people visit the mother center kanguruh every day. Women with their children, but also seniors and many migrants like to come to the family meeting place at heinrich-weber-platz – to make contacts or to attend one of the popular language and computer courses.
In order to keep the store running, violetta densch, first chairwoman of the association, is used to saving money. But 2021 will be a very special year for her. Because "although the money is already not enough at the back and front", the city plans to significantly shorten the funds for voluntary services in 2021. 15 percent against the year 2019 is the benchmark set by chamberer bertram felix.
In a crisis year like any other, this sounds like an affordable contribution in the face of extremely tight municipalities, but it hits bamberg’s social structure at a vulnerable point. The muttertreff, which still received 15,000 euros from the city in 2019 and essentially lives off three donors and donations, is just one example of many. The corona year threatens to bring financial difficulties to 100 institutions, because the municipality is backing down on its claim. It is therefore the full spectrum of social, cultural, but also sporting life that is at stake, which is reflected in the papers that the chamber has compiled under "four globalbetragen" has compiled. The savings list includes well-known institutions such as the chapeau claque children’s theater, the giovanni pedagogical circus, the cultural board and the altenburgverein. But a whole series of lesser-known associations and groups must also reckon with bitter losses.
In fact, 2021 was allowed to become a stress test for social life in bamberg. Never before has the city, which continues to pump 19 million euros into the lagarde campus or refurbishes the 33 houses of the officers’ housing estate at a cost of no less than 15 million euros, been faced with a 40-million-euro hole in the administrative budget with which cities and municipalities cover their current expenditures. Chamberlain bertram felix had to take unusual measures to keep the ship from listing. The city’s employees themselves contribute four million euros to the savings volume by reducing their material costs by 25 percent, from printing paper to public relations work.
Theaters, the adult education center, the music school, the tourism and convention service and the city library are also to accept a 2.5 percent cut in their budgets. This includes not only a higher profit deduction from the municipal utility and the increase in property tax B, which affects all owners, but also tenants. For the first time in recent memory, the state of freestate allows its municipalities to take on debt for running costs. Bamberg digs deep into its 15 million euro budget – and still it’s not enough. So the wave of savings finally reaches those groups that are particularly dependent on the public purse because they do things that are not commercially viable.
City councilors will decide in the finance senate the first week of december whether there will indeed be a 15 percent cut in volunteer cultural, athletic, social services and youth lines. In total, this will mean a saving of around 150000 euros.
What do the spokespersons of the three major groups think?? "It could have been worse. It’s a hard pill to swallow", says wolfgang grader, the financial policy spokesman for grunes bamberg. He also agrees with the new division of the four global areas, as such a grouping promises more stability in the long run. If the city council does not approve the package in december, this will also have advantages: "we can wait and see how the situation develops and whether the government approves the city’s budget."
Peter neller, chairman of the CSU parliamentary group, is also hoping for findings in the spring that will allow more informed decisions to be made, since many events have been canceled. Neller also sees it as unavoidable that the diversity of bamberg’s social and cultural institutions will have to accept a 15 percent cut in funding. "With a heavy heart we will have to agree." Like grader, neller also emphasizes that bamberg still gets off comparatively lightly in such a year. "The fact that we now have to take on 15 million euros in new debt makes me think. Where would we be if we hadn’t saved like this for the last ten years?."
Heinz kuntke is the SPD’s budget policy spokesman. Social democrats had also hoped for more in 2021. For example, the entry into the new construction of the buger bridge. On the other hand, kuntke appeals to the public’s sense of reality: "we have a completely different situation this year than we did a year ago. Under these circumstances, with this huge slump, we must be glad that it has been possible at all to draw up a budget that maintains the city’s efficiency and maintains the social balance." Kuntke also defends the cuts: "it doesn’t make us any difference to short, but with a reduction of 15 percent, 85 percent still remain. "
Kuntke foresees difficulties for the city in 2022 and 2023 if tax revenues do not pick up again. Because that’s when the demand programs expire – and the mountains of debt rise.