Thursday, November 26

One in five stores fail to meet the term of payment of the terrace fee

A waitress attends a couple of clients in one of the terraces that are located in the city of Elche.  |  MATÍAS SEGARRA

A waitress attends a couple of clients in one of the terraces that are located in the city of Elche. | MATÍAS SEGARRA

Out of every five establishments that have a terrace occupying the public thoroughfare in Elche, one is not up to date with its obligations to tax payment. This is what emerges when looking at the report corresponding to 2019 -this year, and also the one to come, the rate has been abolished as a result of the pandemic– that has been prepared by the Department of Financial and Tax Management. Aside from that 20% of the premises have defaults, municipal sources assure that some come to drag up to four years lateoy that there is more debt accumulated in the establishments of the center than in those that are distributed by the neighborhoods and districts.

The data from the council’s report indicate that in the first quarter of 2019, of the 441 receipts of fees that were issued, 96 stayed without paying on the corresponding date, which represents 21.76%. In the second quarter, 508 received were issued, of which 102 were not paid, 20.07%. The figure for the third quarter of 2019 is very similar to that of the second, since 509 receipts were issued and 102 were left unpaid again, 20.03%. This coincidence supports another of the theses that are held in the municipal area and that points out that, almost always, it is the same locals who do not comply with their obligations. Finally, in the fourth quarter of the year, 455 receipts were issued for voluntary payment and there were 93 unpaid, a 20,43%.

Fifteen quarters

“Some establishments accumulate up to fifteen unpaid bills. Taking into account that the receipts are quarterly, we have come across bars and restaurants that have not met for four years», They lament from the City Council of Elche.

The years that accumulate with delays in payments show that the trend comes from far and that there is no direct relationship with the great economic problems that the pandemic is leaving in 2020, a crisis that affects all sectors and that, in the In the case of hospitality, it is doing special damage. Proof of this are the complaints and public requests for help that the hoteliers are making, some as striking as the one they starred in, pan in hand, at the end of October through the streets of downtown Elche, a mobilization that forced the mayor, Carlos González , to intervene at the City Hall.

Sources of the council recall that, in the previous term, they came to find an establishment that dragged a debt of 22.000 euros, at the same time that argue that now is not the time to redouble the pressure on hoteliers, as evidenced by the fact that the fees for this year and next have been abolished, and the cases of non-payment of some terrace fees that are paid quarterly, unlike those of street vending, for example, which are of a bimonthly. “Yes, we must put in value that 80% of the establishments of Elche comply with their obligations and pay their fees every quarter,” says the mayor Patricia Macià in a statement with which she shows her support for the sector in the face of the bad times that is happening.

Other municipal voices are more critical and point out that this issue cannot be “chocolate for everyone.” “We are talking about something that is very exclusive and the City Council stops raising a lot of money. Elche has been the first municipality in the Valencian Community that has abolished the rates for this year and next, at a time when all municipalities are thinking only about their income, “says the most critical sector, which also puts on the table another matter, in this case related to Christmas lighting: «There is a lot of demagogy when it is said that the 100,000 euros that are going to be spent on Christmas lights could have been allocated to the hotel industry in direct aid. Then, we would be harming other sectors, apart from the fact that lighting invites people to go out, buy and consume ».

The current Elche terrace ordinance was modified at the end of last year with the aim that economic activity can be combined in the best possible way with the enjoyment of public space.

Elche, the first city to eliminate quotas for 2021

The October plenary session approved the reduction of seven public prices and froze the rest of the taxes.

As a sign of your support for the hospitality sector in the critical moment it is going through this year as a result of the pandemic, Elche extended the suppression of terrace fees that was approved for 2020 to 2021, being the first city in the entire Valencian Community to take this measure. The decision, which saw the green light in the plenary session of October, in which up to seven rates or public prices were abolished and the main municipal taxes were frozen, means that the City Council’s coffers stop entering approximately one million euros.

The decline in public accounts does not stop there, since the government team estimates that at the end of the current financial year 2020, about 9 million will have stopped entering, due to the different exceptions and reductions that have been applied due to the pandemic and unpaid as those of the 20% of the establishments that are not up to date with the payment of fees for their tables and chairs that occupy the public space.

To this must be added the municipal resources that have been allocated to the different aid programs for companies, freelancers and citizens that have been launched on the occasion of the covid-19 and whose surplus will be used for other extraordinary expenses.

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