During the summer vacations, not the entire city council meets in bamberg, but the so-called vacation senate. It consists of twelve members, who are appointed in the last full session before the recess. This senate must now vote on 23. August, the first day of the sandkerwa, to decide on the approval of the citizens' petition against the planned geisfelder strabe business park on muna land – i.E. Within the one-month period after the citizens' initiative "fur den hauptsmoorwald" had submitted the signature lists end of july.
The approval seems to be only a formality, after all, the initiative has collected more than 13000 signatures – the required number is 3500. It seems almost certain that a referendum will be held.
Decision only in full session
In the state election on 14. October, however, no decision will be made on the future of the industrial park planned by the city. The citizens' initiative had spoken out in favor of the joint election date: they see it as an "expression of democracy in action" and a way to save costs. But the date is probably definitely not feasible, explains ulrike siebenhaar, spokeswoman for the city of bamberg.
Because the administration has the intention to oppose the referendum to a council decision. This procedure must be decided by the city council. A decision of such consequence could not be made in the vacation senate, said siebenhaar. The rules of the city council do not allow it, and: "such a decision needs a broad democratic basis." This is only available in the full session.
The spokeswoman makes it clear that it was not the city's fault. This had not stood in the way of the execution of the decision in the regional election. From the city's point of view, the initiative gets the blame: due to the late submission of signatures, the deadline was simply not possible.
Date only in november
"The initiative had plenty of time to hand in the signatures before the last full session", clarifies siebenhaar. In other words, one week before the last full session of the city council, which will be held on 26 october. July was. The quorum had long since been reached. Then there would at least have been time to discuss a council decision in the full session. The city had informed the alliance in good time of the time needed for the administration to make a decision, and when the deadline would expire. Now it could be decided only on 26. September, the citizens could probably only be asked to vote in november. "We regret that."
In the deadline for the signatures after the full meeting on 30 january. July, the first day of the summer vacations, mayor andreas starke (SPD) even sees an intended manover of the initiative: "the late deadline for the signatures is clearly aimed at taking advantage of the time constraints of the summer break. The city council cannot and must not bow to this pressure."
"It would have been time enough"
Martin bucker of the citizens' initiative, on the other hand, does not see the fault in the alliance: the alliance had already set a timetable at the beginning of the collection of signatures as to when the signatures were to be delivered. This was planned for the end of july. Moreover, the request was already submitted on 9 september. June had been announced to the city: "there would have been time enough to prepare for it", finds the chairman of the federation nature conservation bamberg.
On the other hand, the city is said not to have addressed the initiative on the fact that a levy was necessary before the full session in order to realize the date on the state elections. Even without the early submission of signatures, bucker believes that the city was able to recognize: "that the citizens' initiative is very successful, that the votes come together very quickly." Bucker has another suspicion: "i believe that the council's decision is still a long way from being finalized." Furthermore, there are voices in the initiative who believe that the city is afraid of a decision with rough participation in the state election.
Bucker thinks it is a pity that the referendum is held separately: "because fewer vote and it costs more." Nevertheless, he believes that even with an extra date, enough citizens will vote against the business park: around 8,700 votes are required.
Talks at the beginning of september
But it is still possible that the citizens do not have to go to the ballot box. According to city spokeswoman siebenhaar, the city will talk again with the initiative at the beginning of september, one wants to sound out whether there is a compromise possibility.
In addition, an important discussion with the state police is pending as to whether they are willing to move into the offered site on the tannig in the south of bamberg and to forego the site in the main moorland forest on the armeestrabe in exchange. The citizens' initiative wants to save this part as well.