Paris (AFP)

The State's monitoring of the operating expenses of local authorities "has weaknesses that require adjustments," said the Court of Auditors in the second part of its annual report on local public finances, released Tuesday.

The Public Finance Programming Act 2018/2022 has capped the increase in the operating expenses of local authorities at 1.2%, a measure accompanied by a contracting mechanism for larger communities.

This system has "shortcomings that can be corrected," notes the Court of Auditors, while recalling that "only 14 communities among the 322 concerned (by contracting) exceed the contractual rate" in 2018.

Judges of the Court note that the operating expenses of the subsidiary budgets are excluded from the scheme, despite a "more dynamic than that of the main budgets". They recommend extending the scope of contractualization to these subsidiary budgets.

Didier Migaud, the first president of the Court of Accounts, called on the state, in front of the press on Tuesday, to be "more transparent" in the selection of budgets taken into account.

Noting that local authorities benefit from a "favorable financial context in 2019", the Court of Auditors considers that it "could encourage local authorities, especially those not covered by the contractualization system, to relax their efforts to control Functionnary costs". Therefore, "the prospect of deleveraging in the medium term remains uncertain," say the judges.

© 2019 AFP