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Councils cut back on Christmas lights

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Most Algarve Câmaras are making heavy cuts to budgets for Christmas lights and decorations this year as the economic crisis continues to bite.

Albufeira Mayor Desidério Silva told Lusa news agency: “We will spend around €70,000 this year on Christmas lights. This is a big reduction in comparison to last year, when we spent €290,000. We have other priorities, like education and social actions. However, there will be lights throughout the city early in December.”

In Faro, the spend on festive lighting will be around 40 per cent lower than 2009.

Faro Mayor Macário Correia told Lusa: “Last year we cut the budget for Christmas lighting by half, spending about €100,000. We are considering a reduction in the coming years and, in the future, we may choose to only decorate the central city square.”

Macário Correia said: “It is more important to feed the hungry than to spend money on Christmas lights and fireworks for celebrations.”

In Loulé council, Christmas decorations will be placed in the city centre as well as parish councils including Quarteira, Almancil and Boliqueime at a cost of €125,000, representing a reduction of €54,000 compared to 2009.

In Silves, there will be no decorative lights in any part of the city this Christmas.

Lagoa Câmara will also not have lights this festive season: “This measure was decided due to the economic crisis and we have other priorities, such as social support to the community,” said a spokesman. Lagoa spent €90,000 on Christmas lights in 2009.

Tavira Câmara will spend €58,000, a cut of €5,000 in comparison to last year. A spokesman from the Câmara told the Algarve Resident: “The areas that will have Christmas lighting will be ones with more people such as near the commercial area downtown.”

Concerns

Meanwhile, in Portimão, the spend on Christmas lighting will be €200,000, the same as in 2009.

A spokesman from the Mayor’s office, Pedro Poucochinho, said: “Plans for Christmas are made early every year through a protocol between the municipality and business associations in the city.”

Olhão Câmara has also decided to cut costs on Christmas lights by making a 50 per cent reduction in comparison to last year. In total, Olhão Câmara is going to spend €42,000 this year.

Vasco Melo, President of the Union of Trade and Services Associations (ACRAL), said: “These budget cuts on Christmas lights will affect the local traditional businesses. Christmas lighting attracts the consumer and streets with fewer lights will become less attractive.”

A resident, who asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “Câmaras are making budget cuts in areas that are for the enjoyment of people especially in this festive family season, but in good cars, dinners and travels they do not seem to cut a cent from their finances.”

Cidália Guerreito, a sales representative, told the Algarve Resident: “I don’t see any need for Câmaras to put Christmas lights and decorations in the streets during this season. By making these cuts, they will save lots of money needed for other essential things.” 

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]
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