Wednesday, April 10

PP and PSOE approve the Benidorm budget that rises to 128 million



The pact between PP and PSOE to carry out the Benidorm municipal budget for 2022 has almost taken the prominence away from the numbers. Although this union was announced last Friday, it still sounded strange when the approval of the accounts was voted on Monday with 23 of the 25 votes in the corporation. Thus, this agreement between the party in government and the Socialists has left Ciudadanos (Cs) alone against the document and in its criticism that the draft does not contemplate the reality of the city for next year.

The Séquia Mare park in Benidorm where the millionaire investment of the hostel will go. | DAVID REVENGES


The debate for the approval of the budgets was much calmer than usual. Since the PP acceded to the Mayor’s Office in 2015, the PSOE had never given it its full support. After the signing of that agreement, the PSOE had little room for maneuver to challenge the accounts of its historic political rival. The popular government presented its draft on January 17 and, since then, the opposition parties have worked to study it and present their proposals. Cs made the usual amendments with 12 proposals to change some of the items that the municipal technicians have squared and modify what the PP government wants to spend in the city in 2022. But this year the PSOE did not present its amendments, but launched a document with nine commitments to be acquired by the local executive if he wanted his yes in the vote. The PP picked up the glove on Friday and signed that agreement by which it undertakes to record the requests of the Socialists in the budgets before April 30.

Aida García mayor councilor of finance


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But, beyond the support, how are the account items distributed for this year? To begin with, the amount of the budgets increases compared to 2021, going from 115 million that year to 128 million for 2022. Thus, it includes an increase in the total volume of expenses of 11.0% and of income of 9, 9% compared to 2021, as explained by the Councilor for the Treasury, Aida García Mayor. As for the items, they allocate 31 million to investments (in 2021 they were about 25 million). Among them, as this newspaper already published, many of those that have been pending from last year and “projects that have subsidies” from national and European administrations, such as Edusi or IDAE. Among the most important projects in this sense, the shelter of the Séquia Mare (2.1 million) or the rehabilitation of the bullring (8.6 million). The “payment of the sentence of El Moralet” is also collected.

Juan Balastegui, spokesman for citizens


The cost of personnel is also increased to 45 million from 38.5 last year; among other issues, because the changes will be applied to the VPT. Chapter 2 of goods and services goes from 37.4 to 41.5 million, an increase that is mainly due to the change in management of the WWTP; financial expenses fall from 300,000 to 256,000 euros; and current transfers are also reduced from 11 million in 2021 to 5.4 this year. Debt amortization goes from 2.65 million in 2021 to 2.8 this year. An increase is also expected in items to finance Social Welfare services and investment loans, which grow by 9.1 million euros compared to the previous year.

PP and PSOE approve the Benidorm budget that rises to 128 million | DAVID REVENGES


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In income, 43 million will come from direct taxes, 2.3 from indirect taxes and more than 21 million will be from fees and other income. García Mayor stressed that the accounts reflect the drop in IBI, vehicle tax, and the suspension of the rate of tables and chairs throughout the year, as well as “the drop in income from municipal capital gains”, which is expected 80% below previous years.

Consent

The word “consensus” was the most repeated during the debate. For PP and PSOE to highlight the agreement they had reached to jointly approve the accounts. García Mayor stressed that “they are the result of dialogue, active listening and consensus” of a large majority. The PSOE spokesman, Rubén Martínez, added that it is a “positive agreement for Benidorm”. But towards Cs the criticism was that they had not wanted to play the same role. “A consensus would have to be reached with the other opposition group, but it is also a matter for that group,” he added.

But the orange formation defended itself by pointing out that they had not received the invitation either. “We have worked a lot to present amendments and we have not received any calls from the government” to talk about the proposals, said Cs spokesman Juan Balastegui. «They wanted consensus but only with the PSOE. They have a lot of faith, I hope they are not deceived,” he added. The mayor of the Treasury replied again: “Don’t say that the government doesn’t want to talk because “at no time did it say anything about reaching an agreement.” However, the orange formation presented 12 amendments that the PP “knocked down” with its majority and, in some of them, the PSOE also voted against.

Among them, roofing the sports courts of the Palau d’Esports; a comprehensive reform project for the l’Aigüera park; or beach lockers. And also, with the remainder of 2021 «allocate 4 million to families, 4 million in aid to companies and a minimum of 10 million euros to finance part of the investments and avoid indebting the city council as the PP and PSOE have voted». For their part, the Socialists did not present amendments as such and did not criticize the fund of the municipal accounts. Thus, they trust that the local government fulfills its agreement in which, in addition to aid for citizens, a rental assistance plan is included; the construction of two new soccer fields 8; or continue with the project so that Benidorm is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, among others.

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Cs criticized that the accounts collect “zero euros for families” and only 200,000 for companies, SMEs and the self-employed: “The budget is not going to be of any use to the residents of Benidorm.” But the Councilor for the Treasury replied: “the budget is not a fixed photo” but “is subject to change, depending on the reality of the moment” and the popular accused Balastegui of lying on this point. The PP stressed that it will articulate “aid as has been done in the last two years to serve people”, which “are the center of our political action.” On the part of the PSOE, this increase in aid is reflected in the commitments made by the PP: 2.5 million for aid to families; 3.5 million for local businesses; or an increase in the item for charitable services and scholarships from 600,000 to 1.2 million euros, respectively. The socialist spokesman added that “there are things to improve in the budget or things that do not seem good to us, but there are also some that are conditioned by technical criteria” and cannot be modified.


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