Montpelier. Philippe Saurel, former mayor: “I am very worried about the finances of the city”
By Charles Dossantos
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“Everything that mattered recently in Montpellier, I was the one who did it.” Philippe SaurelHe was elected mayor of Montpellier from 2014 to 2020 and today as the opposition Michael Delafosse continued his work as a dentist and can suggest to his followers that he has a tough tooth.
But this is not the feeling he intended to show: “No, I don’t want to argue at all.” On the other hand, I really encourage all Montpellier residents to take a critical look at what is happening around them, in their city.”
Concerns about Montpellier’s finances
“I’m doing what I always do: I avoid human affairs and I’m a supporter of common interests,” assures the sixty-year-old, who affirms that he will stay out of “dogmas, formatting, and therefore parties.”
Besides, why stay out of parties? “When we are outside, we focus on common interests. He criticizes less when he is in a party. Too often we round corners and have to follow instructions from Paris,” said the former elected official.
In general, he confirms that “the treasury was full” when he left the post of mayor, and today he says that he is “very worried about the finances of municipalities.” Attack against the team in place? “Not at all, but I’m still in regular contact with people from the municipality. They talk to me and say things that worry me a lot.” “In the first year, the rates rose by 10 points, and after three years, we appealed to the regional president, Carole Delga, to secure funding for Tram Line 5 …”.
Michaël Delafosse will have to take over the disastrous management of public funds
Michael Delafosse “consults no one”
Another source of frustration for a former elected official: methodology of his successor. “He does not consult with anyone at all, he does not meet with the people of Montpellier, for example, about the ongoing affairs.”
Acknowledging that those related to traffic and mobility are “necessary”, they “must not be done atrociously above all”. Otherwise? “The economic consequences will be already and extremely serious, with downtown businesses at risk, as well as artisans and the liberal professions no longer able to go to work.”
(long-awaited) tram 5
An original soap opera from the mandate of Michaël Delafosse, tram line 5 It should be commissioned in October 2025. But for nearly 10 years, this file has been at the center of local economic and political life.
When the current team questioned the delay of this project by Philippe Saurel, the latter jokingly notes that “according to them, I should have done everything in 3, 4 years at most. “The former mayor believes that when he took office, “together with my teams, we completely took over the construction of line 5 so as not to destroy Parc Montcalm, as planned by the former socialist leader of the agglomeration, Jean-Pierre Moure. On the contrary, I combined the options proposed by the residents at the community meetings.”
Seeing his successor leading this project, the former tenant of the town hall makes a pragmatic but uncompromising observation. “The route designed by my teams and completed by the residents has not been questioned since then. This is proof that we offer a consistent, logical route that protects 25 hectares of Parc Montcalm.”
Philippe Saurel, for his part, reminds that “the future line 5 will allow to serve certain working-class neighborhoods and also the GGL Stadium (Montpellier Herault Rugby nest, editor’s note) as we planned”. A former city councilor notes that under his mandate “preparatory water drainage works on the road to Mende and adjustments to the hydraulic network were carried out so that part of the avenue de la justice de Castelnau does not flood during episodes of the Cevennes. »
Free transport: “Delafosse makes things frothy”
Philippe Saurel looks confused The future of TAM and its existing network as a whole. “There will be exponential tram use when there is a total free, when the supply is reduced, when electricity is always more expensive, when people have less money, when their purchasing power is visibly reduced month by month,” he fears. sexy He demands “the reconstruction of the entire network if the economic situation of our country continues” and believes that “elected officials must adapt to the level of the population: the latter suffers. I hope, but I doubt, that these elected officials see all of this.”
Philippe Saurel admits this free transportation Although he regretted that his successor “bubbled the work, teased a lot and at the expense of the students for the moment” in his remarks, it can be “a good thing”.
A car-free city?
Not a week passes without making statements in favor of society soft mobilityPhilippe Saurel considers himself the initiator of the changes that Montpellier has experienced in 30 months, and ensures that he and his elected officials “start to address these changes and rethink travel patterns”.
“Before we can travel and move in our city, we should have finished the Western Bypass (COM) of Montpellier,” said the former mayor, lamenting that his successor did not act in the same way. “Today, residents of the four boulevards Berthelot, Orient, Rabelais and Vieussens are suffering from traffic today. And they were obviously not asked anything.”
According to him, Michaël Delafosse “must first rethink the access to Montpellier, especially through Gennevaux, before rethinking the interior of the city”. Without quoting his successor, Philippe Saurel does not hide his pessimism about this famous COM and fears “maybe it will never happen”. As for the method of the current city councilor, the dentist reminds that “the suspension of work in COM is the result of the PS-EELV political agreement for the municipal elections in 2020.”
A hidden sense of insecurity
“The Montpellier residents I treat express a hidden sense of insecurity,” continues Philippe Saurel, who says he doesn’t recommend anything, “he listens a lot to what people say and feel on a daily basis.”
Announced for 2023, the Transportation Brigade is eagerly awaited by residents and elected officials from all walks of life. A former city councilor confirms this new “brigade is good work”.
There is no enmity with Carole Delga
Philippe Saurel, who was elected in 2014, has worked with Karol Delga, president of the newly expanded region, since the summer of 2016. Although both were socialists, their relationship was not always warm. The former mayor has no animosity toward the man who has since been brilliantly re-elected to office. He even wants to thank him for his help in “the new conservatory with regional impact and the section of Line 5 that runs along the route of the current Line 4, along the old medical school. I opened it in June 2016 with Manuel Valls. and he in Peyrou. This segment was co-financed by the Region,” he recalls.
The former mayor is closely following the main construction sites in the region and confirms that the future Montpellier-Perpignan high-speed line, scheduled to open in 2034, is “waiting for Carole Delga” on the construction site. .
Finally, for the future, it does not rule out the return of past chosen ones to the business. “I am currently working to treat the residents of Montpellier. I follow what’s going on and listen to people, but above all I do my job. Later, everyone knows that I love this city and its inhabitants.” If he had to give one piece of advice to his countrymen, it would be to “always be critical.” It remains to be seen whether the people of Montpellier will follow the former mayor’s advice.
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