Bielefeld. While the city’s debts fell noticeably in 2021, they increased again in 2022: the city of Bielefeld is currently in debt to banks and holders of municipal promissory notes at just over 750 million euros. This is shown by the “Debt Report 2022”.
The sum of loans taken out to finance investments in buildings, roads or technical systems fell by around twelve million euros. It now amounts to 474.9 million euros.
The city has significantly reduced the loans that it has repeatedly taken out in recent years to cover its current expenses. The so-called liquidity credits decreased last year by a good 59 million euros to 85.5 million euros. They had peaked at 539 million in 2015. Since then, the city has deleveraged year after year.
The city of Bielefeld had to take out loans for the MoBiel transport company
In 2022, however, the loans that the city drew for subsidiaries as part of the so-called group financing increased. Municipalities receive better interest rates than commercial enterprises.
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189.5 million euros of such debts are still outstanding. They include, among other things, 92.5 million euros in capital market loans that the city passed on to the transport company Mobiel. This was used to procure new Vamos light rail vehicles.
Crazy: Before the interest rate turnaround, the city had even made a profit with its debt
According to a forecast by the city treasury, debt will continue to rise sharply next year. It could then amount to almost 900 million euros. The turnaround in interest rates initiated by the European Central Bank in mid-2022 is making itself felt: it makes city loans significantly more expensive.
In the past, the city had even made a profit on its debt through negative interest rates and was thus able to promote debt relief.
It is now expected that the city’s total debt will exceed the billion mark again as early as 2024. This could increase the per capita debt to over 3,000 euros per inhabitant. Debt per capita peaked at EUR 3,543.97 in 2016 and has now fallen to EUR 2,181.92.