2014 State Budget gives less 3 million to Algarve Municipalities

The Algarve's municipalities could lose, in the aggregate, 3 million euros in direct transfers from the State destined to the management of the […]

The Algarve's municipalities could lose, in the aggregate, 3 million euros in direct transfers from the State destined to the management of the territory and cohesion, according to the preliminary version of the State Budget for 2013. A situation denounced by socialist deputy Miguel Freitas, who does the 'most penalized' region at national level.

The parliamentarian elected by the Algarve circle met this Monday with the direction of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community – AMAL, a meeting where "four conclusions were reached", as Miguel Freitas revealed to Sul Informação.

From the outset, that «of the cuts that will take place, within the scope of the Financial Balance Fund and the Municipal Social Fund, the Algarve region is the one that is most penalized in the country», followed by «Aveiro e Leiria». If you take into account the cut in the transfer of the IRS, it becomes the second most penalized, just behind Lisbon. "It's a cut of about 3 million euros", he emphasizes.

The deputy and the direction of the Board of Directors of AMAL, which brings together the 16 mayors of the Algarve, also concluded that these cuts "are asymmetric", that is, that they will penalize smaller councils with less population. "It is an unfair budget in the distribution of cuts and penalizes the smaller municipalities, which may see some of their functions compromised", defended the socialist deputy.

The cuts in general transfers from the State to the Algarve Chambers will reach «between 3 and 5,25 percent». “It is not the same thing for a municipality with less means to lose 250 thousand euros and a bigger one to lose 400 thousand”, he explained.

The concerns and criticisms of the Algarve parliamentarian are shared by AMAL president Jorge Botelho, who sees the situation "with great concern". "In a situation where unemployment is at the levels it is and in a tourist region, where municipalities have to invest and also count on those who will come, not just those who live here, these cuts are causing great difficulties," he said. .

"Of course, with these cuts, it will become more difficult to respond to everyday situations, namely in the areas of land use planning, urban cleaning and social support and education," he warned.

And there are more and more requests for help, as the State "is reducing social services and there are more and more people knocking on the doors of the Chambers."

This was another of the topics discussed at the meeting, which took place yesterday. «Yesterday, at the Consultative Council meeting, the municipalities expressed their great concern with the closure of public services in the absence of the municipalities and without them participating in the decision. We have to be involved», defended Jorge Botelho.

«The Government has been giving more competences and less money to the municipalities. This leads to the degradation of services», he considered.

The PS deputy to the Assembly of the Republic also questioned the impositions to cut the staff of municipalities by 2 percent, a rule that he considers "blind and absurd". “There will be some municipalities where it may be needed, but there are others where these officials are needed. Here, they will end up resorting to external services and often pay more. It should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

The socialist wonders if, in this way, the Government “will not be forcing the municipalities to adopt a hidden redundancies plan” and if it will not be opening the door “to a plan of friendly terminations in the municipalities”.

Miguel Freitas also considers that the Law of Commitments should make exceptions for compliant municipalities, which have up-to-date financial situation, so that they can resort to credit in specific situations, namely to "guarantee the national counterpart in projects co-financed by the European Union" .

“Those who are above the debt limit are allowed to impose restrictions. But, for those who are in a healthy situation from a financial point of view, the law should provide for exceptions, so that they can resort to financing», considered Miguel Freitas.

The 2014 State Budget is still under discussion in the specialty and Miguel Freitas will still present these concerns in Parliament, before its final approval.

Jorge Botelho hopes "that the proposals that are presented may change the situation" contemplated in the preliminary document. "This is work for the deputies," he said.