You can’t deny him a sense of humor, the fee expert dieter pfister from the kitzingen administrative community (VG). "Most of you already know me," he said on thursday evening, letting the visitors to the information event on the road expansion fees at the kaltensondheim firehouse know.
And then immediately followed up with the explanation for his fame: "you have received mail from me."He has the laughs on his side for now.
The mails mentioned were certainly not a christmas pit, even if the letterhead bore the date of 24 december. December stand. The 122 letters that pfister sent to households in biebelried, westheim and kaltensondheim shortly before the end of 2012 contained rather unpleasant news, namely some hefty bills for trench expansion contributions.
The fact that the fee notices were sent out during the holiday season, of all times, and that some of the billed meter readings dated back to the early 1990s, caused some displeasure in the community and a flood of objections. At present, the 122 fee notices are countered by 96 appeals.
This was one of the reasons why mayor renate zirndt scheduled the meeting for thursday. The fees had already been a topic at the castle meetings in the local districts, now details were to be provided once again – and this was done by renate zirndt and dieter pfister in a division of labor. The mayor hit the bull’s-eye with the information event: around 60 listeners came, and only a few chairs remained empty.
In her lecture, renate zirndt takes a brief excursion into history. According to the letter, the municipality, which was created in 1978 as a result of the territorial reform, had to enact a fee statute for the road extension as early as 1980, but failed to do so despite reminders from the district administration – possibly because biebelried had been in a good financial position for many years.
A 1995 draft for a fee statute prepared by the administration also remained untreated in the municipal council. "It is not comprehensible why this did not take place," says zirndt. She does not spare any criticism of the former council bodies afterwards either, quoting a burgher: "the old council has laid you a nice egg in the nest."
Now the child has fallen into the well, and deeper than the mayor would like. If it had been up to her, there would have been no retroactive effect for the period from 1993 to 2008 in the fee statutes finally passed in 2008; the council narrowly rejected a request to this effect in october 2012. As a result, the VG issued the fee notices under high pressure – on 31 december 2009. December the claims would otherwise have been time-barred. The problem was and is apparently the lack of documentation. The office for rural development, which was in charge of some of the construction work, had also provided the community with insufficient information, invoices and documentation. "In any case, official assistance looks different," renate zirndt voices her displeasure on thursday.
Dieter pfister then explains how complicated the law on fees is. He takes great pains to present the complicated matter in a clear way. Some questions can already be answered on thursday. For example, why contributions are also due, even though the new sidewalk was only built in one part of the road: "it is enough if 25 percent of the road length was renewed, then all residents in the inner area of the village will be called upon to contribute."
Pfister also clarifies the supposed assurance of the former mayor wilhelm kreuzer, according to which no contributions were incurred: "verbal assurances do not pay, this can only be done in writing." And even then such agreements had to be in accordance with the legal situation. A complete waiver of contributions, which is said to have been discussed in westheim, was never an issue, according to pfister. He cites a main post article from december 2002 as proof. In the report on the castle’s meeting at that time, it was stated that no contributions would be made for pure repairs, but that they would be made for so-called improvements. Simple example: if a road did not have a sidewalk before, but after the construction work it does, it is an improvement and not a repair.
Pfister’s fact-packed presentation caused a certain amount of disillusionment among the audience, but many citizens took the opportunity to bring up their specific cases. "Our sidewalk has been brooding for a long time", for example, "i don’t live in this street" or "our street is not that long". Of course, the disputed questions will not be finally clarified on thursday. The 96 objections will first be dealt with by the administration – and then by the municipal council: objection after objection, dispute after dispute. Then the questions will come up again: what can be proven? Which opinion is conclusive? Is there substantial evidence? So it remains complicated.
Strabenbau in biebelried:
Some of the buildings (mostly walkways) date back to 1993. In biebelried, the following roads are affected: the kellerbergstrabe footpath and the path to the sports field (old kreisstrabe). In kaltensondheim: am dorfgraben (inside), eibelstadter weg (without connecting path to the kreisstrabe), pfortleinsgasse walking path, pfortleinsgasse (stichweg with crossing). In westheim: dorfstrabe gehweg, dorfstrabe stichweg, pfarrgasse.
The total amount of the contributions demanded by the administration is 105,000 euros. The high individual assessment lies between 35 and 6500 euros. The municipality has waived its right to collect the money on the required due date in the objection cases. The condition is, however, that the affected parties apply for a suspension.