LISBON CÂMARA’S António Costa (pictured) last week presented a rough outline of his emergency cost-cutting municipal budget to deal with the authority’s spiralling multi-million euro debts.
Lisbon Câmara’s budget for 2008 stands at 546 million euros, representing a 32 per cent cut on 2007 which stood at 799 million euros.
António Costa said that this cut was “essential to guarantee that the Câmara’s debt doesn’t get any larger and that expenses are kept to a minimum.” He talked about a “large reduction in extraordinary receipts” that have to fall from 312 million euros to just 45 million euros.
One of the key points to his cost-cutting exercise is a reduction by five per cent in staff expenses on top of an overall cut of 60 per cent in over-time hours.
In order to gain ready cash, the municipal council is also going to sell off around 1,100 council homes with the resulting cash being used to rebuild municipal bairros (neighbourhoods).
Despite financial difficulties, the Câmara will also invest in education by building six new primary schools and modernising 26 schools in the city as well as building 85km of pedestrian walkways, cycle paths and green lanes.
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