The 2021 budget for the City of Geneva shows a deficit of 49.3 million francs, the legal maximum. According to Mayor Sami Kanaan, the new legislature must digest the implementation of RFFA and the crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new administrative council, which presented this draft budget in corpore on Wednesday, decided to maintain all services to the population. It has also increased the investment envelope from 130 to 180 million francs in order to promote the ecological transition, in particular with the energy renovation of its buildings, said the great financier Alfonso Gomez.
In return, he intends to save 7.5 million thanks to the blocking of annuities for 2021, the thirteenth progressive salary and the seniority bonus for municipal officials. While the unions denounce “unacceptable attacks on wage mechanisms”, the mayor assumes “a political choice intended to preserve benefits.”
For 2021, the draft budget provides for expenses of 1.209 billion francs and net income of 1.169 billion. With the payment of an additional 10 million from the canton for road maintenance, the deficit is reduced to 39.3 million. As a result of the corporate tax reform (RFFA), tax revenues fell by 17.2 million, including a decrease of 27.3 million in those related to businesses.
Net expenses increased by 22.6 million. Ten new positions are planned for the Fire and Rescue Service, three for the Green Space Service, two for the Highways and 2.6 for night mediation. They are partly financed by internal reallocations, explained administrative adviser Marie Barbey-Chappuis, in charge of the Department of Security and Sports.
The executive hopes to have more leeway in October, as long as the canton communicates new, more favorable tax forecasts. For the time being, it contains the maximum deficit provided for by the law on the administration of municipalities, failing which it should present the Council of State with a plan to return to balance within four years.
This mechanism would thus reduce its room for maneuver, unlike a request for additional credit. This explains why the 2021 draft budget does not take into account the cost of maintaining health measures. ‘This project is as sincere as it can sincerely be. Future cultural needs cannot yet be quantified, ‘explains Sami Kanaan, in charge of Culture.
Insufficient emergency aid
The same is true in the social field, where the envelope amounts to 13.5 million, as for 2020. This amount will not allow to keep the second PC shelter, necessary to respect the rules of distancing, indicated the magistrate Cristina Kitsos. According to his colleagues, the City of Geneva is thus sending a signal to other municipalities so that they too can provide emergency aid.
The 2021 budget project will be processed on Monday, during an extraordinary meeting of the City Council, for its sending to committee. The executive hopes that it will be voted on in mid-December.