IN 2006, the Algarve’s 16 borough councils will collectively spend a total of around 700 million euros. With the exception of the budget plans for the borough of Lagoa, for which agreement is yet to be reached, all budgets for 2006 have now been approved by the respective municipal assemblies.
So, where is all the money going this year? To shed some light on investments and expenditure planned for the region in 2006, here is an overview of the budgets approved in some of the Algarve’s key councils.
Albufeira Câmara has a budget of 21 million euros this year and has announced that the focus for 2006 will be education. A new secondary school is to be built in the borough, in conjuction with the Direcção Regional de Educação. Other priorities include investment in sports and social facilities. Three sports pavilions are to be built (in Albufeira, Fontainhas and Olhos d’Água), as well as a crèche, day centre and a care unit for the elderly. With regard to roads and transport, the construction of the Montechoro-Fontainhas-Branqueira road will begin and work on the Eixo Viário will continue.
A budget of 18.3 million euros has been approved for Aljezur Câmara in 2006, an increase of 28 per cent on last year. The main investment planned for this year is the conclusion of the work on the municipal swimming pool complex. The remaining building work will cost around 2.5 million euros. The market is to undergo refurbishment work in the second quarter of this year and a tender has been launched for the fairs and exhibition centre, the plan being that the next Sweet Potato and Barnacle Festival will be held at the new venue. Other investments planned for this year include the building of a new primary school and adjoining multipurpose hall in Odeceixe. Money will also be spent on renovating council housing in the Aljezur town centre, as well as the attribution of land for construction of homes in Maria Vinagre, Aljezur, Odeceixe and Carrapateira.
This year, a total of 28 million euros is budgeted for the borough of Castro Marim. Following on from projects that were commenced in 2005, Castro Marim will be focusing on completing the work to install a new basic sanitation and water supply system in various areas of the borough. Around 2.3 million euros will be spent on finishing this project, which covers the parishes of Azinhal and Odeleite. In the main, the investments for this year are already being developed, such as the renovation of Forte de São Sebastião and the regeneration of Revelim de Santo António in partnership with the Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico.
A total of 79.8 million euros is budgeted for Faro Câmara in 2006 and the areas due to receive the most attention this year are education and sport. Fifty million euros is reserved for investment in the borough. Changes will be made at the majority of primary schools, with 3.5 million euros allocated to fund the improvements. A new crèche and nursery will be constructed in the Penha area and the Escola EB1 de São Luis will be refurbished, two projects that together will cost 1.7 million euros. Another 3.5 million euros will be spent on completing the athletics track and 2.7 million euros on a leisure complex. There are also plans to build new council houses in the Senhora da Saúde and Conceição areas.
It is believed that the budget for Lagoa may not be approved until as late as April. The municipal assembly did not approve the original budget proposal totalling 34.1 million euros, with 14 Socialists voting against and an abstention from the Communist Party representative. According to recent news reports, the Socialists were against the budget due to excessive expenses foreseen for publicity and staff overtime payments. Apparently, staff costs were expected to increase by around 6.5 per cent, an amount the Socialists believe is unjustified. A new document is due to be presented, but it is believed that the main emphases for this year’s budget are social facilities (eight million euros), sport and leisure (6.7 million euros).
A budget of 59.7 million euros has been approved for Lagos Câmara in 2006, which looks set to be a year of re-organisation, planning and renovation. It is expected that the Plano Director Municipal (PDM), the borough’s master planning document, will be approved, which is of great importance in order for urbanisation projects in Lagos, Meia Praia and Odiáxere to go ahead. There will be improvements to the borough’s schools and the project for the municipal pools and sports pavilion will be realised.
A total of 137 million euros has been budgeted for Loulé Câmara in 2006. An amount of 84 million euros has been earmarked for investments in fundamental areas such as roads, sanitation and the public water supply network. A total of 19 million euros will be spent on improving roads, streets and pavements, with special emphasis on works on the EM542 and EM524. Two new primary schools will be built in Quarteira and Loulé, as well as a professional college in Alte. In addition, improvements will be made at existing schools, including primary schools in Loulé and Vale Judeu. In all, eight million euros will be spent on education this year.
A budget of 16.4 million euros has been approved for the borough of Monchique this year and the focus continues to be the implementation of the Bio-Parque (natural reserve) in the mountains. In an effort to make Monchique more accessible, money will be spent on the main roads that link Monchique to other boroughs, in addition to a new road that will encircle the borough’s capital.
In 2006, 43.4 million euros has been budgeted for expenditure by Olhão Câmara, the most part of which will be spent on transforming the northern section of the dock area into a quality tourist spot, with two luxury hotels set to open later this year. Investment will also be made in the borough’s schools, namely in Largo da Feira and Bairro dos Pescadores, including the construction of new classrooms. Construction is set to begin on an auditorium and congress centre and work will continue on the new municipal library.
A budget of 76 million euros has been approved for Portimão Câmara in 2006, 15 million euros more than in 2005. The main objective for this year is to finish the borough’s two most emblematic projects of recent years, the Fórum Cultural and the Museu Municipal – a total of 8.4 million euros will be spent on these projects over the course of this year. In addition, investment will be made in education with a new primary school being built in the Pontal area and the extension of the primary school in Coca-Maravilhas. Three million euros will be spent on the construction of 600 new council houses.
This year, a total of 66.8 million euros is budgeted for the borough of Silves. Education is seen as the priority for 2006, with plans in place to construct three new primary schools in Armação de Pêra, Messines and Silves at a cost of 11 million euros. A total of 20 million euros will be split between council works, such as improvements in town centres, work at social facilities and on the borough’s roads. It is also foreseen that the Museu do Azeite e Estalagem in São Marcos da Serra and the Museu do Traje de Messines projects will go ahead this year.
Budgeted for expenditure by Tavira Câmara in 2006 is an amount of 42.3 million. This year’s objective is to make Tavira the south’s great cultural destination. Projects such as the Centro de Arte Contemporânea, the Centro de Artes e Espectáculos, the Islamic and Phoenician museums and the renovation of the Pousada do Convento da Graça will go ahead this year. Work will also be undertaken to refurbish Praça da República and reconstruct the Bairro Jara, and the building of a Pousada da Juventude (youth hostel) will start. Work will also go ahead at the fishing ports and docks at Quatro Águas, Cabanas and Santa Luzia as well as the construction of a new GNR post. Money will also be spent on business parks, a new water treatment station and on improvements at the borough’s health units.