With reference to Infralobo’s “right to reply” letter in your January 21 issue, we feel it is important to make a few valid points.
First of all, this is not a dispute between Mr Cooke and Infralobo. This is a dispute about equality before the law and also about the services which Infralobo charge for and fail to provide.
The infrastructures in our developments are public and, as such, should be maintained by the public (in this case Loulé Municipality). Loulé is naturally free to appoint a contractor to carry out this maintenance but this work should be paid for by Loulé, not by the property owners as an extra tax on number of beds.
Infralobo says that only a few owners oppose, which is patently incorrect. When the property owners were notified in 2014 about Loulé’s decision to force Infralobo upon us, a majority of the owners were opposed to this decision. However, it was clearly stated by Infralobo that, unless you agreed to the contract with Infralobo, you would not get any water! So much for choice. In fact, a large number of property owners went to the length of taking legal action against Loulé and Infralobo, and some 14 months later we still await the decision from the court in Loulé.
However, one could have expected of a responsible provider of a public service such as water (a human right) to hold back on a drastic and unnecessary action such as removing water meters until such time as the various governmental bodies and the courts have ruled if the “bed space” tax is indeed legal. Especially if the water charges have been paid.
Now to the services promised and charged for. The “mission statement” for Infralobo states, for example, that “Infralobo promises to improve the standard of the infrastructure thereby increasing the value of the properties in the areas they maintain”.
Another statement is that Infralobo prides itself over the way it communicates with its clients.
We “joined” Infralobo on April 1, 2014 (not a joke), and have since paid our bed space taxes and highest water rates in Portugal for 22 months. This equates to roughly €2,000 – in bed space taxes for a three bed villa which is more than the same villa would pay in property tax!
What do we get in return? Nothing – apart from the road sweeping machine coming once a week. Roads and pavements are in a disgraceful condition, leaking fire hydrants, weed growing everywhere etc etc.
So, in essence, we pay twice (property tax to Loulé plus Infralobo) for infrastructure maintenance and receive nothing in return.
Read Infralobo’s website and their presentation to the property owners in Vale do Lobo, or drive around Vale do Lobo and you will find the answer. Flower beds and lawns everywhere, new paved walking paths, LED street lights, designer rubbish bins, expensive landscaping in front of Vale do Lobo’s offices etc etc. The place is crawling with their gardeners and civil works contractors.
Remember that Vale do Lobo owns 49% of the shares in Infralobo! How can Infralobo be considered impartial when a major shareholder has a vested interest in how the funds and resources are being used?
Property owners in Vale do Garrão, Quinta Jacintina and Vilas Alvas