What does a city need money for?
As a public corporation, every city is required by law to perform certain tasks (mandatory and directive tasks). In addition, it performs a wide range of voluntary tasks in the public interest and for its citizens. The list of tasks is long.
- operates schools and day care centers,
- maintains sports and event halls, the municipal library and music school, museums, youth facilities, green spaces, playgrounds, markets and cemeteries,
- builds roads, bridges and underpasses and plans construction areas,
- is responsible for street cleaning, winter maintenance and tree control,
- finances the fire department,
- is the contact point for all citizens' concerns,
- promotes local tourism and the local economy,
- and carries out cultural events.
These tasks for the citizens and guests of the city cost money. In addition to the wages and salaries of municipal employees who implement the work and projects, numerous other expenses are also incurred. For example, for the maintenance or management of the municipal administrative and residential buildings.
Where does the money come from?
Almost half of a municipality's revenue usually comes from taxes. Tax revenues include own taxes - mainly property tax and trade tax - and a share in various other taxes, such as income tax and sales tax.
The second important source of revenue is the financial allocations from the state of Baden-Württemberg. Among these are the so-called key allocations. The rest of the revenue comes from fees and the like. For larger projects, loans must occasionally be taken out.
The Municipal Budget or: What Happens to the Money?
Every municipality is required by law to plan and manage its budget in such a way as to ensure the continuous fulfillment of its tasks while maintaining macroeconomic balance. Economy and efficiency are the top priorities.
The budget shows all municipal areas of responsibility with the respective revenues and expenditures. Where the money comes from and what it is spent on is determined once a year in the municipal budget statute with the budget. In public session, the municipal council discusses the budget and decides what the city will spend money on in the coming year.
The same principle applies to a municipality as to private individuals: no more money may be spent than is collected. Borrowing should be avoided as far as possible.
While the income statement shows all income and expenses of the municipality and thus represents the actual consumption and generation of resources, the financial budget shows the planned cash flows and disbursements, especially from investment activities.
How is the budget adopted?
At the end of the previous year, the administration prepares a draft budget for the coming calendar year. This includes the budget requests of all areas of the administration for planned projects and current expenditures.
This draft is brought to the municipal council for discussion. In most cases, the draft budget is discussed in public at several meetings, amended if necessary and finally adopted. A budget only becomes legally valid once it has been examined and approved by the regional council as the supervisory authority. The administration is bound by this plan.
What's the deal with owner-operators or owner-operated companies?
In order to perform certain tasks, the City has established corresponding economic enterprises. They belong to the city, but operate an independent economic management.
The municipal utilities are managed by plant managers. The municipal council makes the fundamental and most important decisions. This includes, for example, the Own Plant for Baths, Utilities and Transport. It is responsible for the swimming pools, among other things. The business plans of the municipal companies are part of the municipal budget. The Stadtwerke GmbH is a municipal utility. The participation report shows which companies the city is still involved in and to what extent. It is published annually.