VRSA Chamber presents a hundred measures to contain expenditure

Strategy – pioneering at the regional level – aims to reduce current expenditure by up to 20 percent and means average annual savings […]

Strategy – pioneering at the regional level – aims to reduce current expenditure by up to 20 percent and means annual average savings of around 2 million euros.

The Vila Real de Santo António City Council today presented a financial containment plan, through which it expects an average reduction in its current expenses of around 20 percent and an increase in revenue of around 500 thousand euros.

To achieve these goals, the municipality drew up a strategic document, consisting of a hundred measures, transversal to all divisions, cores and management areas, in a logic of sharing efforts.

With this plan, the Chamber hopes to save, in absolute terms, approximately two million euros. The reduction will not only impact the financial data for the last quarter of 2011, but will also be reflected in the 2012 municipal budget.

Through this effort, the city council intends to be better prepared for the budget cuts that the local authorities will be subject to through the reduction of funds from the Central Administration. On the other hand, the plan anticipates the austerity measures contained in the State Budget for 2012.

The strategy will also seek to alleviate the drop in revenue from municipal taxes – especially the Municipal Tax on Onerous Property Transfers (IMT) and construction licenses – which, together and since 2008, have decreased by around 20 million euros.

According to the president of the municipality of Vilarrealense Luís Gomes, “the measures are based on a basis of equity, as they will cover all decision-making structures. On the other hand, they are the effective implementation of the Generational Responsibility Plan approved by the Municipal Assembly last May».

“We want to give a clear sign of responsibility and show that we are committed to regularizing the municipality's financial situation, releasing pressure on the treasury. We believe that this effort is rigorous and leaves us better prepared to face the challenges of the future», continued the mayor.

“Despite the budget targets, and given the worsening of the families' difficulties, we will, in most cases, maintain our social skills, based on strict management”, he concluded.

In order to guarantee the success of the plan, a biweekly follow-up program is being carried out, monitoring the effective application of measures and the calculation of savings volumes.

The set of actions also responds to the strategy defined at the headquarters of the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (Amal), where the municipalities undertook to present plans to reduce their expenditure and exchange experiences.



In the expense area:

- Overtime

Among the hundred proposals, there is a reduction in the number of employees' overtime. On the other hand, internal mobility will be promoted and the collaboration of internal human resources in all organic areas will be maximized.

- Events

Taking into account the importance of animation policies to capture tourist flows, the municipality will look for the most advantageous partnerships possible and will make a more restrictive selection of the type and quantity of events organized.

- Transport, mobility and fuels

The containment package will be felt above all in terms of transport and mobility policies. Reducing fuel consumption and limiting travel will be one of the main changes.

The online control of fuel expenses, the financial accountability of users for the misuse of vehicles, as well as the restricted use of the highway, is already underway.

Pre-established routes will also be defined, optimizing consumption. The entire insurance portfolio of the municipality is also under review, as is the optimization of the use of school transport.

- Reduction of printing and Stand by

In this context, the measures will include the elimination of latent consumption (standby) of all computer equipment, as well as the restriction of color printing and copying. All reproductions and prints must be made using the front and back of the pages, while all equipment will be calibrated for the most economical way.

The same restrictions will apply to first cycle schools, with each teacher having a ceiling monthly of 300 copies. The costs of publishing editions and graphic materials will be reduced.

- electrical consumption

In order to alleviate the increase in VAT from 6 to 23 percent on the electricity bill, the creation of measures to reduce the consumption of public lighting is under study, which may include turning off superfluous luminaires and restricting lighting in certain periods.

The closing of swimming pools will be maintained during school holidays and the use of solar panels for sports equipment will be maximized, alleviating the gas bill.

- Greater criterion in social support

In terms of support, the municipality is implementing the new regulation of the Social Action Division, so that the allocation of subsidies is as judicious as possible, avoiding fraud and overlapping of aid.

The main changes will concern lease support, where maximum aid ceilings have already been revised. There will be a tighter control of the external signs of wealth of the beneficiaries, combating possible situations of fraud.

Despite this, the support of the VRSA Social and VRSA Família cards will be maintained, which, among other advantages, will continue to guarantee the reimbursement of medicines and will allow the completion of dental treatments for users already enrolled in the «VRSA a Sorrir» program.

- Review of support for sports clubs

As for the county's sports spaces, a new usage table will be created and an amount to be charged to the promoters of events taking place in these facilities will be established.

The entire support policy for sports clubs will be reviewed, with emphasis on young people and amateur sports. 


In the revenue area:

At the same time, the City Council will maximize its own revenue, taking the following measures in place:

.Promotion of the occupation of the Campsite of Monte Gordo, during the low season, with the overnight in motorhomes.

.Expansion of fees for outdoor advertising, terraces and other situations of occupation of public space.

.Review of fees associated with rights of way

.Collection of tickets for most shows and exhibitions organized by the municipality

.Promotion of a balance between the real cost of organizing events, revenue generated and associated fees (in the case of Feira da Praia)

.Lease of municipal spaces for the organization of events