by PAULO SILVESTRE
Algarve municipalities have reduced budgets for 2011, compared with 2010, in anticipation of a new year expected to bring further economic difficulties.
Councils will only undertake what they consider to be the most important works and helping those most in need.
Of the 16 municipalities in the region, only Portimão will have a higher budget due to a financial recovery plan developed by the Câmara.
The budget for Monchique Câmara in 2011 will be worth €17.4 million. According to Mayor Rui André, 2011 will be a difficult year and the Câmara had to incur many budget cuts. “The main investments will aim to help the poorest in the council. The budget also includes help in education scholarships, the construction of a retirement home in Marmelete and an intensive care unit in Monchique.”
Olhão Câmara will have a budget of €49 million, focussed on education and social actions to help the council’s poorest residents.
Loulé Câmara’s budget for 2011 will be around €173 million. Loulé Mayor Seruca Emídio said: “The overriding priority in the 2011 budget will be social actions for residents who have financial needs.”
In the Vila do Bispo council, the budget for next year will be €15 million and will be applied to projects considered priorities, such as a school centre in Budens and putting a roof on the multisports complex in Raposeira.
São Brás de Alportel Municipality will have around €14 million to invest, including the completion of the new access road in the north of São Brás, the redevelopment of the school in Parises and the transformation of the old fire fighters headquarters into a music atelier.
In the Municipality of Albufeira, the priority is the completion of the primary school in Guia and the sports pavilion in Albufeira. The budget of €100 million will also be invested in the building of a nursery, a day centre and a nursing home at Olhos de Água.
Aljezur Câmara will have a budget of €13.2 million to be invested in actions for the poorest and associations in the areas of culture, sport and leisure.
Resurfacing the EN267 road between Marmelete and Aljezur and the expansion of the nursery and primary school in Aljezur are also part of the budget plan.
Alcoutim municipality will have a budget of €14.1 million, with the majority of the funds earmarked for the construction of a new GNR police headquarters, the renovation of the Câmara building and the improvement of the road in Martinlongo. The investment also includes the construction of a new movie theatre. According to a spokesman from the Câmara, “this new structure will have capacity for 200 and is the first work of its kind in the county.”
Castro Marim will have a budget of €23.2 million where social assistance, sanitation, accessibility, spatial planning and culture are the areas that will receive the greatest investment.
There are also plans for a central water supply system and sewage treatment plants designed to serve nine towns and villages in Azinhal and Odeleite parish councils.
Tavira’s budget will be around €19 million and will be used for the completion of the roads in Santa Luzia, Alcaria Fria and Alcaria do Cume.
Investments will also be made in education with the construction of a school centre at Horta do Carmo, and also in culture with the conclusion of works at Tavira Museum.
Meanwhile, Portimão will be the only municipality that will have a higher budget than in 2010 due to a loan of nearly €100 million as a result of a financial recovery plan developed by the Câmara. The budget available for works in the council in 2011 will be €190 million.
Meanwhile, Silves and Vila Real de Santo António Câmaras are yet to approve their budgets for 2011.
According to Vila Real de Santo António Mayor Luís Gomes, “the budget will be approved at the next meeting of the Câmara Assembly which will take place soon.”
Opposition parties in Silves do not agree with the proposed budget by the Câmara, claiming that it is discriminatory as the parish councils featuring the heaviest cuts are those led by members of CDU political party.