Up to 1.9 million euros in debt: Committee examines municipal finances in Pichl

Up to 1.9 million euros in debt: Committee examines municipal finances in Pichl
The municipality’s debt will grow to up to 1.9 million euros in the short term.
Image: Michaela Krenn-Aichinger

In the first half of the year, the municipality still had balances of around 500,000 euros, says Gustav Niedereder (FP), head of the audit committee in Pichl: “In the meantime, liquidity has deteriorated massively, with the existing credit line of 1.5 million euros not all of them could open Payments are made.”

As reported, it became known in October that the municipality had not paid numerous outstanding bills for around six months and had also not applied for funding. At a special meeting on Tuesday, the local council therefore decided to increase the credit limit by a further 900,000 euros. “But we don’t have to fully exploit this, it’s a safety cushion, so to speak,” says Deputy Mayor Gerhard Seemann (VP), who is currently in charge of the official business. The community still needs around 400,000 euros to catch up on the arrears.

However, this debt will not burden the community in the long term: “The open funding will be applied for and open specifications will be submitted later,” says Seemann.

Financial damages

However, the community is likely to suffer financial damage, says Niedereder: “On the one hand, due to the interest payments. On the other hand, it is not clear whether all funding can be applied for retroactively.” According to the FP mandate, funding should have been applied for for some projects before implementation, but they have already been completed.

How much of the unapplied for funding, totaling around 500,000 euros, can still be obtained is now the subject of the audit committee. However, other areas – such as VAT credits amounting to 250,000 euros or prescriptions for various municipal taxes – could certainly still be claimed, says Niedereder.

The committee should also clarify how the tricky situation came about. There has been turmoil in the office building in Pichl since the beginning of June at the latest, when the mayor Franz Scheiböck (SP), who has since resigned, reported the head of the office for, among other things, violating official secrecy. The head of the municipality’s finance department had already resigned in the spring. “He was available on a contract basis, but had to be asked if there was something to be done for him,” says Niedereder. As soon as all the numbers are on the table, political responsibility must also be clarified.

There is a meeting of the audit committee on Friday, to which Scheiböck and the outgoing head of office – she has resigned and will be leaving the municipal service on January 1st – are also invited. Scheiböck doesn’t want to comment in advance: “I haven’t had a look at the documents yet, I’ll wait to see what the topic is on Friday.”

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