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Some câmaras under threat of closure

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Presidents from the 16 municipalities of the Algarve will meet on September 5 to discuss the current financial situation they are facing and to seek solutions for the problem.

Faro Mayor Macário Correia, who is also the president the Algarve Câmaras Association (AMAL), said that the Algarve Câmaras face a situation of “financial strangulation”.

In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Público, Macário Correia predicts the bankruptcy of Câmaras in the Algarve and warns that “if the Government doesn’t make decisions in the coming days about this situation we will have municipalities facing serious financial problems and in risk of closing their doors”.

The mayor added: “There are Câmaras paying the salaries of employees with revenues from water services, which should go to the regional water authority Águas do Algarve.”

The Social Democrat Mayor also criticises the salary increases of CP (Comboios de Portugal) administrators and the increase in the number of directors of Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank.

Macário Correira also slammed the number of members of the new government and “their high salaries”.

“For a new government that started its functions with a restraint attitude by reducing the number of ministries, which I praise, the extended list of Government directors is outrageous.

“Also the list of advisors and executives, and the salaries of members of Government offices are mind-boggling,” he added.

The situation facing the region’s Câmaras has worsened since banks cut credit to local municipalities because they were instructed by the Government and ‘Troika’ to focus available credit on the private sector. 

“Municipal income is falling and Câmaras have fixed costs that are not easy to cut.

“We also have an increasing number of people in need that we have to support,” said Macário Correia.

“Portugal has seen reductions in household incomes, cuts in salaries, increases in transport costs and cuts in the Christmas subsidies. On the other hand, the Government raises the ministries salaries”.

Faro Câmara needs more than €48 million to ensure the payment of bills, says Macário Correia.

“For more than three months I’ve been, on a daily basis, negotiating with the banking system to get credit that will allow Faro municipality to get out of the financial problems we are facing, but the negotiations never come to an end.”

Faro Câmara is making cost reductions which will see it operating with 200 fewer employees than two years ago and by selling the city’s cultural heritage to help the Câmara’s treasury.

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