Rogério Bacalhau.jpg

State blocks Faro’s €3.4 million investment plan

A €3.4 million plan to fix roads, renovate old buildings and carry out several other investments in Faro has been rejected by the Portuguese government.

The decision baffled mayor Rogério Bacalhau (pictured), who says the money will gather dust in the bank until next year when the administration will try to get the plan approved again.

Speaking to Sulinformação, he deemed the decision “very strange” but refused to believe it was due to “political” reasons – Faro council is led by opposition party PSD while the government is socialist (PS).

It is likely related to Faro’s ongoing financial adjustment plan which started in 2010, though whether this is the case remains unconfirmed.

A large chunk (€1.6 million) of Faro’s investment plan was to carry out improvements to roads both in Faro and rural areas of the borough. The plan also included a €750,000 project to build social housing apartments and a €400,000 initiative to renovate old buildings.

The rest of it would be used to renovate local sports fields/complexes, purchase new vehicles for schools and the fire station, buy new equipment for local playgrounds, and carry out conservation work at the Lethes theatre.

“In the government’s eyes, none of these investments are a priority or crucial to the development of the borough,” the council said in a statement.

The bid for approval was sent to the government on July 15. It received an initial green light from the local authorities department (DGAL), but the final negative verdict only came three months later from the office of the Secretary of State of Budget.

PS Faro urges state to reconsider.

Meantime, PS Faro wants an “urgent hearing” with the government to convince it to change its decision.

The socialists said the negative verdict is “understandable” given the adjustment plan that Faro signed in 2010, but urged the state to reconsider as they believe the borough’s coffers are healthy enough to justify the investments.

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Photo by: Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group