Portimão council has announced plans to revoke its much-maligned civil protection tax, implemented last year in the face of massive local uproar.
While opposition parties celebrate the news, locals are described as wary and still in doubt that it is true.
As Sulinformação reports, the suggestion to do away with the tax is to feature in the draft version of a new Municipal Adjustment Plan (PAM), which will be discussed in a council meeting next Wednesday (July 22) before being submitted to the bosses of the municipal support fund (FAM).
Portimão council is said to be in debt to the tune of at least €141 million.
“Proposing the cancellation of the tax is only possible due to the incredibly strong financial adjustment the municipality has gone through,” it has said in an official statement, adding that the revoked tax will “save” local families and companies around “€900,000”.
The council also explains that revoking the tax doesn’t mean local services like firemen will lose their funding. Instead, the money will come directly from the municipal budget.
“I always said that if I could have, I wouldn’t have charged this tax”, mayoress Isilda Gomes told Sulinformação. “But I had to as it was part of our PAEL adjustment plan.”
The PSD Opposition claims the proposal is only being put forward due to the “pressure from locals and oppositions parties”.
“The annulment of the tax is thanks to all the people of Portimão who, in one way or another, put pressure on the mayoress to back down (and revoke it),” the borough’s PSD group said in a statement.
Independent councillor João Vasconcelos is also celebrating.
“Congratulations to all those who, together with the Left Bloc (BE), pressured the council which imposed a wicked and unfair tax on the Portimão people,” he has written on his Facebook page.
But the ‘Portimão Sempre’ group is not letting off any fireworks
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” wrote a member of the group which still wants to know what will happen to all the money collected by the tax – thought to have stripped at least a million euros from hard-pressed ratepayers already – and whether people who did not pay it will receive any negative fallout.
The Resident is also trying to find the answers to these questions.