“We will no longer be able to pay the bills”: in Coubron, the municipal council is done by candlelight

A funeral veil? No, a town council meeting! In the photo posted on Facebook on December 15 by the mayor of Coubron Ludovic Toro (UDI), the candles placed in a row on the tables struggle to light up the faces of the elected officials who sat the day before in one of the rooms of the ‘city Hall. The action was intended to be symbolic, and the darkness quickly gave way to light bulbs.

“Beyond the humorous side, it is a call for help”, underlines the first magistrate of the least populated and greenest commune of Seine-Saint-Denis. For months, he has been sending letters to the President of the Republic, to ministers, to the prefect or to the association of mayors of France to alert them to the sharp drop in global operating grants (DGF) in his city.

With 68 euros of DGF per inhabitant in 2022, Coubron ranks among the least well-off municipalities in the department, knowing that it cannot count on subsidies from city policy. This “ridiculous” allocation, the elected official puts it against the average of 93, which stands at 245 euros per citizen, and that allocated to Clichy-sous-Bois, one of its neighbors, which receives 877 euros per inhabitant.

“I get less and less money from the state, and I can’t even take out a loan”

Result: Ludovic Toro claims to have to rely on the regional council of Île-de-France and the Métropole du Grand Paris, two bodies in the seat within the right-wing majority, to finance his municipal projects. A check for 700,000 euros under a regional development contract thus occupies a good place on one of the walls of his office.

According to its mayor, Coubron would pay for its reputation as a “rich city” which, he says, does not reflect reality. “At the beginning of 2022, three banks refused me a loan of 80,000 euros, an amount that is not refused to an individual, he assures. To redo a road, it is immediately 100,000 euros minimum. The banks tell themselves that we will not be able to repay. I receive less and less money from the state, and I can’t even take out a loan! »

Coubron, December 22, 2022. Very critical of the State and the reduction in the allocations it allocates to the municipalities, Mayor Ludovic Toro poses in front of a check for 700,000 euros from the Île-de-France regional council. PL/AA

While he points out that “the average income of the Coubronnais is much higher than that of the whole department and that of the inhabitants of Clichy”, Jean-Claude Mathias (PCF), one of the two opposition elected Coubron, also considers that “the endowments are not sufficient”. “There is a lot of damage on the roads,” he observes.

In addition to this continuous drop in the DGF, for the past few months has been the rise in energy costs. “That was all that was missing,” breathes Ludovic Toro. Next year, the elected official expects an increase in the price of electricity of between 27% and 132%. The bill would go from 279,000 euros in 2022 to a sum between 354,330 euros and 647,280 euros.

“We will no longer be able to pay, it is impossible, predicts the mayor of Coubron. Will they cut the electricity in town hall? In this case, it will be necessary to find a way to read the reports in session. »

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