Messines protests at the door of the Municipality of Silves against the lack of transfers to the parishes

The population and mayors of the parish of São Bartolomeu de Messines will travel to Silves this evening to attend and participate […]

This evening, the population and mayors of the parish of São Bartolomeu de Messines will travel to Silves to attend and participate in the Municipal Assembly. At issue is the delay in the transfer of funds from the City Council to the parishes, since, in 2012, not one cent was transferred and there are already boards with salaries in arrears.

João Carlos Correia (CDU), president of the Parish Council of São Bartolomeu de Messines, with employees of this municipal body, was already around an hour and a half at the door of Paços do Concelho de Silves, symbolically, on the day of the meeting of the executive council, chaired by Isabel Soares (PSD), but was never received.

“There is no reason, no justification for what is happening. It is the end of September and the Parish Councils have not yet received anything from the Chamber of Silves. And the argument that this delay has to do with the late approval of the Municipal Budget [approved only at the end of June] is not true. It's almost October and the Budget was approved in June and even so we haven't received anything», said João Carlos Correia do Sul Informação.

As one would expect, Chamber President Isabel Soares has a different opinion: «the Budget was not approved until June 28 and, if not approved, the Chamber could not sign the program contracts with the Parish Councils, which are annual ».

In addition, the social-democratic mayor stressed in statements to the Sul Informação, «on February 21st, the so-called Leia dos Compromissos appeared, which prevents us from doing anything if we do not have the funds available for it». «Fortunately, the economic and financial situation of the Silves Chamber is extremely controlled», which allows the municipality to release, for other purposes, funds that were attached to works and investments that have not progressed in the meantime.

The examples that Isabel Soares gives are «the works in the Historic Center of Silves, the synthetic grass of the Armação de Pêra football field, the São Bartolomeu de Messines School, the São Marcos da Serra Inn». These were works where the City Council had "very large commitments, of more than four million euros", but, as "they are not being carried out", mostly due to the problems of the construction companies, "we are going to terminate the contracts".

In addition, tonight, at the Municipal Assembly where the population and mayors of Messines want to participate, the Chamber hopes to see the approval of the proposed payment agreement to the company Águas do Algarve, in the amount of 1,4 million euros, which allows reschedule payments, ensuring 'lower monthly charges'.

“If we release the money from the stopped works, plus this from the distribution of the payment of invoices, and if we use the 2011 management balance, we will be able to solve all the problems, namely the payments to the Parish Councils”, assured Isabel Soares.

According to the president, at the moment the Chamber has a negative balance of 4,5 million euros, but, with those financial operations, it will have "one million and such positive balance of funds".

And when can the situation be fully resolved? "If our proposals are approved by the Municipal Assembly, and as soon as the contractors respond to the notices of contract termination, I think that by the end of October, at the latest, everything will be resolved."


Salaries in arrears at Parish Councils


Despite the promises of the mayor Isabel Soares, at least the Parish Council of São Bartolomeu de Messines has already lost patience. Its president even admits that this is, at the moment, the Junta with the fewest problems, since, he assured, "the Junta de Alcantarilha has four months of unpaid wages, the Junta de Tunis has one month plus vacation allowance."

“What has helped us is that we were left with a management balance of 80 thousand euros from last year, because we already anticipated difficulties this year”, stresses João Carlos Correia. “I can't let 20 people working here daily go without pay, not to mention what can happen to the cemetery, or the square and urban cleaning. So far everything is fine, but I don't want to reach the strangulation point of the other parish councils in the municipality. It's just that it's very serious that public institutions have salaries in arrears».

But it is not just the functioning of the Board that the lack of payment by the Silves Chamber causes serious problems. João Carlos Correia warns that “the situation is seriously harming the support given to communities, clubs and associations”.

On the other hand, there is also the problem of garbage collection. «There are places in the parish that have been waiting for more than 15 days for the garbage to be collected. It's a matter of public health. In the town of Messines, the situation is not better, as the services of the City Council are collecting garbage and transporting it in totally inadequate vehicles, with an open box, that leachate runs down the streets they pass, leaving a trail of rubbish and bad smell and creating serious dangers to public health».

On Tuesday night, the Parish Council of Messines held a meeting with the population, in addition to already running a undersigned, available at the local authority's headquarters and in public places in the village, as well as a online petition. Yesterday morning there was a vigil in front of the City Hall and tonight the population and mayors go to the Municipal Assembly. "We will leave here at 20:30, so that the population can witness what is happening."

«It costs me a lot to take these attitudes, but after several meetings and many promises that have not resolved anything, we can only take a firmer and more public attitude», guarantees the president of the Parish Council of São Bartolomeu de Messines.