Amsterdam's finance alderman suddenly resigns with garbage issue looming

Udo Kock resigned as the Amsterdam alderman for finance and economic affairs with immediate effect. In his letter of resignation to mayor Femke Halsema, Kock said that he cannot accept responsibility for the solution that the office of mayor and aldermen decided on for the problems at waste and energy company AEB, AD reports.

AEB is responsible for the incineration of waste and the supply of heat. It is an independent company of which the municipality of Amsterdam is 100 percent shareholder. The company has been struggling with technical defects and millions of euros of budget deficits. For safety reasons, four of the six AEB incinerators have been shut down for some time. That is a problem not only for Amsterdam - AEB also processes a lot of waste from the rest of the Netherlands and abroad.

According to Kock, research has shown that the AEB crisis can best be combated by fully privatizing the company. But the office of mayor and aldermen would rather work with public parties. The other aldermen of GroenLinks, SP and PvdA would prefer that Amsterdam retain a majority of the AEB shares, or very influential guarantees - an external investor is welcome, but Amsterdam must remain in control, according to the newspaper. 

According to the departing D66 alderman, this option costs the city more money, entails more financial risks, and has less chance of a successful restart for ABE. Kock had an interested party who wanted to come aboard under conditions that were favorable to the municipality, but this deal was rejected by the other aldermen. "I respect this choice. However, I cannot bear responsibility for a decision that is obviously risky and unnecessarily costly for Amsterdam and its residents", Kock said in his resignation letter."

Kock took office as alderman in Amsterdam for the D66 in 2014. Last year he was also appointed deputy mayor. He described his time in the Stopera as "the most exciting and honorable experience of my professional life". 

As finance alderman, Kock reorganized the city finances with a firm hand, according to AD. He reduced the city debt and reduced the burden of tax increases on Amsterdam residents. His focus on finances and disregard of the political game made him relatively unpopular mong his colleagues, the newspaper writes.