Saturday 29th January 2022 – CARLOS LÓPEZ with Mike Smith
The 2022 budget of the Xàbia Council starts to roll and within thirty days it will be in force, providing no appeal in the public explosure phase. On Thursday afternoon, the government team (PSPV and CpJ) voted alone to go forward with the first accounts of the legislature, the first in four years, in the ordinary plenary session of the month of January, which was held online.
The debate on the budgets began with an initial statement by the councillor Ximo Segarra (Treasury) breaking down the accounts in what he described as “an important day for Xàbia and for me”, because a “very important budget” was being approved.
Segarra acknowledged that they were “expansive accounts” – they rise 9% compared to 2017 – to improve services to residents and the infrastructure as well as contribute their grain of sand to “leave behind the crisis derived from the pandemic”.
The accounts rise to 39 million euros, to which another 11 million from the municipal water company are added.
- Staff: 17 million
- Current Expenditure: 18.74 million
- Investments: 1.2 million (of which 1 million are for the swimming pool)
- Ordinary Transfers: 700,000 euros (sports agreements and associations)
After Segarra, the speeches of the opposition spokesmen began, which on this occasion we present from highest to lowest representativeness. In which everyone had words of thanks for the elaboration of the accounts both for the mayor himself and for the Intervention team, and its maximum responsible – due to sick leave of the owner – Joan Vallés.
Oscar Antón: «There is no planning, no consensus, it was abnormal that we did not have budgets»
The person responsible for defending the position of the PP in the budget debate was councilor Óscar Antón, who was Treasury councillor between 2011 and 2015. One of the first arguments that he put on the table in opposition to this 2022 budget was that “there has been no planning, no consensus.” In previous years, he recalled, “the budgets were taken to the Casa de la Cultura, public scrutiny sessions were held and there was citizen and political participation”, but he lamented that lately Xàbia has settled in “a dynamic of the absolute majority that eliminates any citizen participation and of the opposition”.
Regarding the budget project, Antón affirmed that they are “continuous accounts, purely procedural, in which there are no criteria or political initiative”, nor is there, as he stressed, “real awareness of the needs of the municipality.”
Likewise, the PP claimed that they have not had “much margin to contribute because everything was already decided”, denounced the municipal “leverage of money” in the banks – he placed the figure at 27 million euros – and claimed that 500,000 euros has been paid in commissions to the banks for the money that is in the accounts. “A money that should be in the pockets of citizens or in investments,” he concluded.
Antón also called for the development of the sports investment plan, such as the one presented at the end of the 2015 legislature, the Central Cinema project, the reform of Casa Candelaria and the mobilization of land to build protected housing. And he demanded that the Council renew the lighting of the Tosalet urbanization “because there are some people there who can pay for lawyers and sue the council”.
And in terms of personnel, he assured that the budget included “the same positions as in 2017.”
Juan Cardona: “The proposals of the Strategic Plan that was made are not included”
Meanwhile, the Compromís representative, Juan Cardona, considered that the budget “follows the line of plugging holes” and criticized that there has not been “a clear guide” in its preparation. He complained that the opposition “has not been able to contribute anything to the proposal”. Neither “have they been collected from the participatory budgets”, something that he added “is the pending issue of this government” and claimed that “those that were included in the Strategic Plan of Xàbia” do not even appear.
In terms of personnel, he considered that “they correct everything that we should have since 2017” and stressed that today “the Council needs much more personnel”, something that he hopes will be reflected in the Public Employment Offer, which must be agreed with the unions .
In addition, he recognized that the social aid and businessmen included in the accounts “are things that were agreed upon” and criticized again that the IBI had been lowered. “It seems irresponsible to us” since, according to him, it “mainly benefits the rich”,
Cardona defended that Compromís “always” has positioned itself in favour of the different investments approved through credit modifications: swimming pool, road resurfacing, employment plans, but he claimed that it lacked “a boost to cover the real needs of this town, such as protected housing or improvements in mobility”.
Enrique Escrivá: “Investments account for 3% of the budget”
The representative for Ciudadanos, Enrique Escrivá, criticized the fact that an item for participatory budgets has not been enabled that “opens the door for the residents to participate in the preparation of the accounts”, a procedure that “should not be so difficult when in Dénia the allocated budget increases every year and in Pedreguer they go for the 10th edition”.
He asked that “historic claims” and requests that he has made in the different plenary sessions such as an agreement with the Association of Collective Intelligence of the Marina Alta to finance the bus for young people from Xàbia who study in Valencia or Alicante, have been incorporated. or the creation of bonds for the purchase of sports equipment that could be financed, as he explained, with the item of sports scholarships “of which 12% of the budget is finally given to athletes.”
Escrivá did not propose it as an amendment, but he did propose subtracting part of the various expenses of the governing bodies “which rises 12,000 euros compared to 2017” to finance the monitoring of posidonia or for the City Council to prepare a preliminary urban transport service project .
Regarding the investments, he claimed that they represent 3% of the total budget and criticized that there is no mention of funding for the Central Cinema, the second sports centre, “or an investment to improve security in the Ramblars facilities, so that episodes are not repeated like fire.”
Juan Ortolá: «It is a very well designed budget»
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Ciudadanos por Jávea, Juan Ortolá, defended the work carried out by his government partner and in a brief speech claimed that the budget is “very well designed” and will allow the surplus of the treasury and the credit modifications that are made “keep working and make use of it when necessary”.
Ximo Segarra: «The budget in the end is what it is»
Councilor Ximo Segarra, responded to each representative, and remarked that “as we already explained there were a series of commitments” and the budget “in the end it is what it is”.
He rejected the argument that the budgets were not participatory “there is not a set line for voting, but here we receive requests every day, and all that can be attended to.”
However, he stressed that throughout the year “new projects will come” – in reference to those cited by the opposition – since the treasury surplus “is not closed.”
And before the claims of the three representatives that there was no roadmap, he assured that “many of the works that appear – in the list of investments that will be carried out with the surplus – are already being finished, others are underway and others are up for bid.” The roadmap – he continued “comes out as things are being done”.
There was no option for a second round of interventions by the representatives, and the mayor, José Chulvi, closed the debate.
José Chulvi: «I prefer the leverage of money to the brutal debt that existed in 2011»
The mayor thanked the Treasury councillor and the Intervention team for the work done, but made an express mention of Joan Vallés, “for the work done and for helping us get the budget off the ground.”
he said that it is a budget “which is the document of the government team” and claimed that in democracy the task “of the opposition is to present amendments, and in them the proposal of the group that proposes it is addressed.” And he added “there have been no amendments because you did not want to”. To the surprise of the opposition representatives, who had heard in committee “it is already very tight”.
Chulvi struck a blow with this argument about the lack of amendments to the opposition representatives, all of them new and unskilled in the budget debate, and left them misplaced and without the possibility of a reply in an online debate. And so he continued in defence of the first bills of this legislature.
Themayor defended the lowering of the IBI “as a brave decision” and recognized that between “the leverage of money and the brutal municipal debt” that he found when he came to government in 2011, he stays with the first, which will allow “making investments without having to go to credit and assume sentences for things that have happened in the past”, in a clear allusion to the Tosalet urbanization and the investment of almost 3 million euros to renew the lighting of the once prestigious residential area.
Chulvi continued and defended citizen participation in the accounts and criticism of the three opposition parties “every day we meet with associations, with clubs, and entities and many of the things that move us have been collected, as well as the neighbourhood associations”.
And he claimed that the works that have been planned and appear in the infographics that the local government has posted in the institutional profiles “are proof that we have a project.”
He closed the debate and they went to vote, with the result already indicated and the plenary continued, after more than an hour talking about the budget.