suburban mayors worry about their population

Gilles Leproust, at the moment, is not sleeping very well. This week, the communist mayor of Allonnes (Sarthe) must present to the municipal council a modification of his original budget. The reason: 600,000 euros of additional costs planned “because of energy expenditure in our public buildings, which are exploding”out of a total budget of 17 million euros.

It’s not just for the president of the Ville & Banlieue association that the nights have been short lately. “The tidal wave is beginning, but the worst is still ahead of us”, warns Damien Allouch. Like most of his colleagues in the suburbs, the socialist mayor of Epinay-sous-Sénart (Essonne) is worried about the consequences of the energy crisis and inflation in working-class neighborhoods. “There is a very anxiety-provoking climate at the momenthe adds. The question that arises for the inhabitants of the neighborhoods is whether they will be able to get their heads above water from this new crisis. » So, at the time of the presentation of the government’s 2023 finance bill, elected municipal officials intend to alert the public authorities to an already very complicated situation.

Read also: Mayors find the draft budget of local authorities “calamitous”

According to a Harris Interactive study for the National Agency for Urban Renewal (ANRU), published in September, 72% of residents of priority neighborhoods fear the impact of rising energy prices on their ability to heat themselves. Especially since it is in these neighborhoods that we find the most poorly insulated housing. “The burdens become unbearable for an already precarious population”, is alarmed Hélène Geoffroy, socialist mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin (Rhône), on the outskirts of Lyon.

“If there are savings to be made, they are not to be made here”

The municipalities themselves are affected by this price increase. In Grigny (Essonne), the energy bill has increased by 60% in 2022. “The situation is exactly the same as before, except that now it costs me an additional 1 million euros”, says Philippe Rio. The elected communist, who is more worried about the 2023 bill, therefore had to suspend investments in city renovation policies. “We have to plan budgets that are 20% to 30% higher because of the increase in the price of materials, assures Gilles Leproust. If the ANRU envelopes are not adapted to the situation, we go straight into the wall. »

The quality of the public service that the municipalities will be able to offer by drawing on their meager reserves is a subject of concern. “We see the company Vert Marine closing its swimming pools in the name of the explosion of its energy bill, universities which think of closing during the winter. Are we also going to have to make this kind of decision for certain services? », asks Damien Allouch. Due to a potential withdrawal of social actions, elected officials fear to further weaken their population. In Grigny, 8% of the population eats thanks to food aid. “We thought the food crisis peaked during Covid. With this energy crisis and inflation, we realize that we are going to have a plateau instead”analyzes the mayor, Philippe Rio.

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