On the home page of its website, Tourette-du-Château looks towards the sea. A full-screen photo represents its streets, its houses and its bell tower heading south, with the Var plain in its sights and , even further in the distance, the city of Nice. This small hilltop village of 150 souls has undertaken to leave the Community of Communes of the Alpes d’Azur (CCAA), which covers the north-west of the Alpes-Maritimes and brings together less than 10,000 inhabitants, to join the 550,000 residents of the powerful metropolis. Nice Côte d’Azur. That is more than half of the departmental population. His approach, validated this Monday morning by the metropolitan council, before other green lights which remain to be obtained, is not new. According to The Letter from mayors and local elected officials, Last year, nine French municipalities had already decided to change intermunicipalities.
Among the 227 agglomeration communities, the fourteen urban communities and the twenty-one metropolises existing on January 1, 2023, adjustments are being made. A marginal but regular “mercato” since the law of December 16, 2010 requires all municipalities to integrate a public intermunicipal cooperation establishment (EPCI). For what ? What are the interests of these communities? 20 minutes make the point.
Change intercommunity, to stick to a “living area” and for more services?
In Tourette-du-Château, which joined the CCAA in 2014, before the election of the current mayor, the latter is clear: becoming the 52nd municipality to “join the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis is the most natural choice for us », explains Laurent Baudoin (SE). The approach would be corroborated by an impact study carried out for one year by an independent firm mandated by the municipal council, supports the councilor. “Nice is our living area. This is where many of our assets go to work. This is also where our residents go to do their shopping and get treatment,” he explains. A logical choice therefore, but above all advantages for the small village. “I have absolutely nothing to say about the CCAA. Everything has always gone very well. But the services of the metropolis are stronger,” he says again.
“The larger an intercommunity, the greater the resources,” notes a specialist, employee of a community on the Côte d’Azur and who prefers to remain anonymous. The interest for a small town is certain in accessing quality resources in terms of drinking water, sanitation, economic development and for roads in particular. In terms of road maintenance, this is definitely a plus. And there is also the question of transportation. »
By integrating the metropolis, Tourette-du-Château would also be added to the list of municipalities served by the Lignes d’Azur authority. “From January 1, 2024, we could benefit from a real on-demand service which would allow us to open up,” rejoices Laurent Baudoin. The icing on the cake, the change would allow an annual saving of 20 to 50 euros on the taxation of households in the municipality, further assures the councilor, who has yet to see the transfer be validated.
How it works ?
To change intercommunality, there are several steps to follow. You must first, and obviously, obtain the approval of the person to whom a municipality wants to turn. For Tourette-du-Château, the council of mayors of the Nice metropolis had already given its “go” on September 18. The entire metropolitan council also voted “for” this Monday morning by a very large majority (five oppositions and five abstentions). But, after this first agreement, two other steps will still have to be taken.
The Departmental Commission for Intermunicipal Cooperation (CDCI), which intervenes in particular in “any project to modify the perimeter of a public establishment of intermunicipal cooperation or to merge such establishments which differs from the proposals of the departmental plan for intermunicipal cooperation”, must give his opinion. Ultimately, it is up to the prefect to grant transfers or not.
What is the point of expanding for an intercommunity?
Getting bigger, for any structure, may seem like a good idea. But not at any cost. If, by integrating a new municipality, an intercommunity captures a new source of financing, via taxation, it must in return offer it services. And therefore spend. We must therefore always ensure “that this does not unbalance the finances” of the community, explained last March to Nice morning the president of the Nice metropolis Christian Estrosi.
In this case, for Tourette-du-Château and its 150 inhabitants, who will represent tenuous new revenues, it was necessary to “calculate a certain number of parameters”, he also specified, referring to “the cost of transfers of skills”, in terms of roads, drinking water and sanitation networks, transport and household waste collection, “obviously, but also environmental principles and the preservation of resources. » In the specific case of this municipality of 9.74 km2, the metropolis is also increasing the share of natural spaces within its perimeter. “It’s always good,” we say on the community side.
What if all this was also (and above all) political?
Even if the mayor of Tourette-du-Château denies it – he repeats that “the only motivation of the entire municipal council is to better stick to the historic living area of the commune”, some observers cannot help but to see in it a possible political maneuver, even political. “The Community of Communes of the Alpes d’Azur is chaired by Charles-Ange Ginésy, the boss (LR) of the department, close to Éric Ciotti (LR). The Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis is Christian Estrosi (Horizons), with whom it is war. We can logically wonder if there is not something to look for in that direction,” confides an elected official from the Riviera coast.
“This can indeed be a political game,” adds the specialist, quoted a little above. Maybe they’re trying to steal them. ” Always in Nice morningquestioned about the integration of new villages within the metropolis, Christian Estrosi assured for his part that he was not a “demander”.