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Spreitenbach: “Suddenly” a high school building: FDP against a 23 million loan


“Suddenly” a high school building: FDP rejects 23 million loan and calls for tax cuts – this is how the other parties react

The old Spreitenbach community center is to be converted into a school building and become part of a new school complex. The fact that this will now be much more expensive than announced five years ago is particularly annoying to one party – it will reject two proposals at the municipal meeting.

Since the beginning of August, Spreitenbach has been managed at the new location on Bahnhofstrasse. That is why the old community center is to be converted into a high school building for 23.2 million francs. The new school complex would also include a new three-story building and an enlarged kindergarten (the AZ reported). A loan of this amount will be presented to the municipal meeting next Tuesday, November 28th.

This is what the new upper school building in Spreitenbach should look like.

Visualization: zvg

Now there is political resistance: The FDP – chaired by Josi Bütler, Spreitenbach’s former mayor – has spoken out succinctly in a statement. It says that the business caused emotions to run high at the party meeting in the Sternen restaurant. “The change in concept from the lower to the upper school building annoys us.”

In the 2017 financial plan, the Spreitenbach population was “sold” the conversion of the community center into a lower school building for 11.8 million francs. In the 2022-2023 financial plan, 14.8 million were already recorded for the renovation, “but now a planned lower school building suddenly becomes an upper school building with a commitment loan of 23.2 million.” This cost explosion cannot only be justified by the increase in construction costs and the system change, as was explained at an information event at the end of October.

The FDP wonders why the population has not been informed about this “fundamental” change in recent years and has announced that it will reject the loan to the Gmeind. The party wants to proceed in the same way with the 2024 budget with a deficit of 915,000 francs with a constant tax rate of 100 percent. She calls for a tax rate reduction of 3 percentage points.

Reason: “Spreitenbach is debt-free and last year again reported an extreme surplus of 15.7 million francs.” The FDP has made it clear that it will react if the budget continues to be so generous and “the money is taken out of our taxpayers’ pockets”.

SVP “grudgingly” agrees to the proposal

A query to the other local parties shows that the FDP is the only one that is opposed to the two proposals. The most fighting took place in the SVP, as can be seen from their party note. She did not question the school building as such, “but rather the way in which the construction costs, which were previously around 15 million francs, have increased to more than 23 million since the project was approved at the community meeting in November 2017.”

Nevertheless, the SVP members grudgingly agreed to the now significantly more expensive project – after hearing their own member of the audit committee. “Nevertheless, we would like to point out that there is probably still potential for savings in the final implementation planning.”

The SP points out that cost estimates without concrete projects can be very inaccurate. “Since a high school building with an additional kindergarten is being built and we have seen massive inflation since the first cost estimates, the costs are justifiable.” Spreitenbach is growing and therefore needs new school space. A rejection of the loan would not necessarily lead to a reduction in costs:

“Temporary measures also cost money, as does a new plan for the school complex.”

In addition, the party does not consider the rejection of the budget to be effective because of an unplanned reduction in tax rates. “The attractiveness of the community does not increase one bit with such a measure,” writes the SP. Spreitenbach, which is growing, must take on the various municipal tasks and will continue to rely on sufficient tax revenue in the future.

This is also the argument of the Center Party, which also speaks out against a reduction in the tax rate. Spreitenbach is in a growth phase that will inevitably trigger investments. The constant “tweaking” of the tax rate does not exactly reflect a far-sighted financial policy. The center will only advocate a reduction again when the growth and investment phase has been completed – which is the case with around 15,000 inhabitants. Around 12,300 people currently live in Spreitenbach.

When it comes to the school loan, the middle agrees with the FDP when it comes to the “massive” deviation in the costs originally planned in the financial plan. However, she can understand this “differentiated and unbiased”. The local council and representatives of the building commission were able to plausibly justify the cost development at the end of October.

For the local party, the focus is much more on ensuring that this school building provides enough school space for a Spreitenbach with around 15,000 residents “and that this does not create a need for additional school space for the time being”.

2023-11-23 00:47:58
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