Ariège. Is the department doing too much for the economy and not enough for the social?

According to the regional Accounts Chamber, the departmental council should reorient itself towards the social sphere. (©Illustration by Fabien Hisback – News Occitanie)

That Regional Court of Audit (CRC) Occitanie checked accounts and leadership of the departmental council of Ariège since 2018. She indicates that the institution should reorient its activities in certain areas in its final observation report delivered on 03/22/2022.

Tourism development spending

CRC Occitanie celebrates for the first time strong economic commitment of the Department (22.28 million euros between 2018 and 2021), “despite the changes introduced by the law on the new territorial structure of the Republic (NOTRé). “In the period from 2018 to 2021. the financial resources allocated by the departmental council for economic policy remained Consequently: 73% of the expenditures were directed to the development of tourism, agriculture and fisheries,” the chamber notes, specifying that this is fully within its sphere of competence.

Let communities of municipalities act

Except that “his strategy also led to an intervention in support of government institutions for inter-municipal cooperation (EPCI)”. For example, communities of municipalities. And it’s in the realm of help business real estate (€2.2 million between 2018 and 2020). This sometimes deviates from the provisions introduced law Ourwith particular attention to business incubator management. “District Council must now leave all their place to EPCIwhich have jurisdiction in economic matters,” the chamber asks.

In addition, “the department occupies a significant place in Ariège attraction agency which was established in 2017 after the abolition of the competence of economic development”. The aim of this agency is to promote the competitiveness, attractiveness, cohesion and solidarity of the territories located in the department of Ariège. “In addition to the difficulties associated with the status of the agency and provision by the department of one of its agents to act as a director, certain activities designed by the association are likely to link the department’s intervention to the area of ​​economic development over which he no longer has direct competence.notes the regional Accounts Chamber.

Health crisis management analyzed

Ariège also “suffered from the effects of the health crisis in proportions comparable to the national average.” Community responded maintaining its traditional intervention costs in the form of subsidies to associations and public figures in its territory, especially ski resorts. He also decided not to contribute to the national solidarity fund, but to contribute to the L’Occal Regional Foundation, up to 552,000 euros. This again contradicts the framework established by the NTRE law.

” Society should make a full assessment of their economic intervention in response to the health crisis,” asks CRC Occitanie.

Dependence on the economic situation

Finally, the Regional Accounts Chamber asks the Department to reorient its activities. “In the period from 2019 to 2020. the number of RSA recipients increased by 11.5% and related costs increased from €36.8 million to €39.7 million. The community remains at risk in the short term on the trajectory of these spending,” the number clarifies.

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” Though satisfactory, maintaining the level of self-financing partly due to compensatory mechanisms, some of which are not sustainable”, and “tax reform increases the dependence of local government revenues on the economic situation”.

Risk of increased social spending

The inconvenient situation is assessed by the regional accounting chamber. This should “lead the Department to withdraw from economic activity under the jurisdiction of the EPCI in its territory in order to reorient the heart of his mission, especially social spending, that pose a structural risk of progression.”

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