Service cuts in the offing for Copenhageners – The Post

Service cuts in the offing for Copenhageners

A sudden financial shortfall in the budget of the Technical and Environmental Department requires urgent remedial action – and it will hurt

The budget for manned public toilets in Copenhagen is on a slippery slope (photo: Orf3us)
November 12th, 2018 4:37 pm| by Stephen Gadd
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One result of the recently reported cases involving excessive over-billing by the municipality for pavement cleaning – along with the disarray with fees incurred with regard to construction cases, and inflated fees for mobile huts and containers – could be fewer public toilets and manned playgrounds.

The Technical and Environmental Department’s budget is now over 30 million kroner short, and the department has drafted A and B lists of possible savings to be presented to local politicians this evening, reports Politken.

Between a rock and a hard place
The A list involves cutting 73.5 full-time equivalents in 22 different areas: among other things slowing the processing of complaints about parking fines, closing all seven manned public toilets and 25 unmanned ones, a moratorium on buying new equipment, and a reduction in the supervision of road quality – both public and private.

The department’s deputy mayor, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, stated in a press release that “however we go about this, Copenhageners will definitely notice a reduction in the level of service.”

Grassroots protests
If the parties can’t agree on the A list, then the B list mentions possible savings of 8.7 million kroner and 37.5 million kroner in 2020 by cutting 97 pedagogues from the municipality’s 26 manned playgrounds.

However, there is strong opposition to this move, and already 6,000 signatures have accumulated on a petition against closing the manned playgrounds, with a political majority against the measure.

Radikale politicians have suggested that savings might be made by the further tendering of certain services, but group chairman Mette Annelie Rasmussen admits that “this is not a pretty situation, but we’re in it because there have been financial irregularities and unfortunately, it will be the citizens of Copenhagen that will have to pay the price. That is the grim reality.”