Budget Baarn: money for personnel and communication
The Baarn budget for 2023 is the first to be discussed by the city council since the installation of four new aldermen in June. For next year, the college wants to get 1.5 million euros from the reserves, including to support young people, entrepreneurs and the cultural sector after the heavy corona period. Under the line, about 1.8 million euros of all income must remain. Given the uncertain times, that is not even that much, according to Alderman Prakke and his colleagues.
Much of the expenditure was actually already fixed before the municipal administrators started calculating. For the time being, only incidental money is available for the many new plans from the coalition agreement of VoorBaarn, GroenLinks, PvdA and D66. With this financial policy, Baarn will be able to keep income and expenditure in balance for another three years, says Alderman Prakke. Intervention by the province of Utrecht, which supervises the finances, therefore does not appear to be an issue for the time being. The local costs for residents do not increase in line with the raging inflation. Living in Baarn is on average 5 percent more expensive, converted about fifty euros per year.
Some of the plans:
Baarn will in any case be looking for employees who will join the permanent team for a year. These new officials must, for example, ensure that the municipality communicates better with the residents, one of the promises in the coalition agreement. The municipality wants to respond more often and better to reactions, for example via social media, and invests time and money in conversations with a cross-section of the inhabitants, to which about a thousand people were invited at random. Baarnaars will be involved in, among other things, the redevelopment of the Brink in the city centre. Neighborhood budgets will also be established and the municipality will actively seek out young people to hear what they think about their living environment. The skate track on Geerenweg is getting a facelift anyway.
According to the college, communication can also prevent people in Baarn from getting into debt by talking to them about poverty, prevention and regulations for the minimum wage. Additional staff will also be put to work to coordinate the transition to green energy with other municipal policy and with laws and regulations of the national and provincial authorities. A culture coach should make Baarn cultural organizations work together better. Artists are given space in vacant buildings and the municipality wants to help people who want to organize an event to find their way through all kinds of obstacles that can arise.
Two municipal employees will focus on care and welfare. This so-called ‘social domain’ is a responsibility that the government handed over to the municipalities more than seven years ago and has since been hanging like a millstone around the necks of many aldermen. These employees must, among other things, find out how the municipality can comply with the government’s order to cut back on youth care. Municipal officials will also become more involved in combating criminal undermining and drug use among young people. There will also be an extra ‘green boa’, an enforcer of the municipality for the outlying area of the wooded municipality.
The municipality is investing in a package of measures to prevent investors from stealing away the scarce homes in Baarn, and the search continues for suitable housing locations. Entrepreneurs who want to move from the center or from residential areas to an industrial estate and thus leave potential new living space are assisted in this. There is also money for a tree management plan. Residents are encouraged to green their gardens and use less chemical pesticides.