SCORES OF Lisbon freguesias, parish councils, are up in arms against the Câmara after receiving fines ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 euros for noise pollution.
The fines are more specifically for late night noise caused by annual summer street festivals during the Festas de Lisboa.
Covering the period 2002-3, parish councillors claim that the amounts are far too high and include stiff interest rates for non-payment. They also complain that the fines are just another ruse by the cash-strapped municipal authority to raise much needed funds.
The freguesia councillors maintain that they didn’t pay the fines and fees for these two years because managers of the Câmara’s entertainments company EGEAC, Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural, told them at the time that they were exempt from paying.
One local Lisbon councillor told the daily newspaper Diário de Notícias that they had been sent bills of between 6,000, 10,000 and 12,000 euros for their traditional late night summer time revelries.
“It’s a disgrace because the Câmara is charging our members for events that breathe life into the city, attract tourists and are often fund-raising initiatives to help children’s charities, old people, and the disabled, yet they waver the fees for Rock in Rio-Lisboa, which makes far more noise, because that generates huge profits.”
The Académica da Ajuda received a Câmara demand for 5,600 euros noise tax for 2002 and 2003. “The tax itself was 1,000 euros and the rest was late payment fines and interest rates,” said Fernando Pereira, who heads the local collective.
He went on to say that the “Académica has always paid its noise tax, but in 2002 EGEAC told us not to worry since we were exempt from paying.”
The letters are threatening the organisations with bailiffs and seizure of goods and assets if they don’t pay the fines.
The association for the Freguesia da Ajuda has already sent an open letter to the President of Lisbon Camera threatening in turn to end all cooperation and participation in Lisbon Câmara events and initiatives if it doesn’t back down.
An EGEAC spokesman said that it was already negotiating with the Câmara to annul the payment of noise pollution taxes for events that were part of the annual Lisbon Summer Festival, Festas de Lisboa.
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