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Formentera plenary accepts €23.8m budget for 2017

foto conseller presidentToday at its November plenary, the Formentera Council granted preliminary approval for the administration's 2017 budget. “Yes” votes were cast by Gent x Formentera and the socialist party while Compromís opted for abstention and Partido Popular voted against the measure. As tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell pointed out, the budget's nearly €24m total marks a 6.91-per cent increase on the 2016 figure (€22.8m).

Escandell also highlighted a few changes, like money for a traffic inspection crew, plus funding to expand Formentera's lifeguard and rescue service, fire brigade, school of music, childcare services, cleaning crews and administrative staff.

He added that Formentera currently has no debt, though said that could change with the Council's projected assumption of a loan linked to Consorci Formentera Desenvolupament.

On other spending, Escandell referred to “recent improvements in Formentera's residential and tourist urban zones, development of green and sustainable transport solutions, upgrades of out-of-use heritage sites and a continued push for community involvement through Formentera's Council of Entities.

José Manuel Alcaraz, spokesman of Partido Popular, bemoaned the absence of tax cuts in the budget, while Ana Juan, spokeswoman for  Partido Socialista, opined that the forecast was “very close” to her own group's vision for the island, citing projects like safety upgrades on camí Vell de la Mola alongside Formentera's football pitch. Explaining the group's abstention on the vote, Compromís's spokesperson said: “It's got plenty of good parts and then some not-so good parts”.

Other agreements
The plenary brought unanimous approval for a deal with Grup d'Acció Local to support local fishing, as well as a call from the socialist group for an educational effort to familiarise local associations with the technicalities of grant requests.

Another measure that received unanimous approval (excluding abstention from Partido Popular's) dealt with the language used on future roads and urban arterials. A forthcoming measure will address the official name of the island's new industrial park.

Verbal report from Sònia Cardona
This month's plenary featured an account from councillor of community involvement Sònia Cardona, who described her office's goal as “bringing resident participation to the fore of the administration's decision-making process”.

“We are seeing that local mobilisation can influence the decisions that are made,” Cardona said, pointing to the creation of local participatory budgets and the popular effort to stop a plan to move Formentera's landing at the Eivissa port.

Cardona trumpeted the list of 96 groups that make up the island's association registry and reported on recent upgrades of audio and IT equipment at the local space for associations, the Casal d'Entitats.

Council and APB strike deal to turn over la Mola lighthouse

signatura cif apbJaume Ferrer and Joan Gual de Torrella, presidents of the Formentera Council (CiF) and the port authority of the Balearic Islands (APB), met this morning in Palma, on Mallorca, to finalise a deal handing the Formentera administration control of the land and outbuildings in the immediate vicinity of la Mola's lighthouse. The move comes as part of a broader effort to establish the landmark as a centre of cultural and musical programming.

The lighthouse occupies land that is controlled by APB, however, under today's agreement, cultural and musical activity on the premises shall not affect the monument's daytime and nighttime use as a lighthouse for maritime traffic.

Ferrer announced yesterday as he unveiled the administration's 2017 budget that, following today's signing, the parties would proceed to drafting executive plans for the project. Meanwhile, the Council is also applying for funding —potentially covering €600,000, or half the project's total cost— under the EU's European Regional Development Fund. Works are expected to get under way in the second quarter of the coming year.

Council's 2017 budget tops €23 million

foto president consellerJaume Ferrer was joined today by Bartomeu Escandell in unveiling the Formentera Council's 2017 budget. At an 11.00am gathering in the administration's plenary hall, the president and tax office councillor shared that the annual budget reached 23.8 million euros, up 6.91% from 2016's €22,275,000 figure.

Economic backdrop
The Council's 2017 financial forecast comes in the context of exceedingly trying —and increasingly unpredictable— economic conditions globally. Next year, barring unforeseen changes, experts predict a shrinking of the Spanish and Eurozone GDPs. Eivissa and Formentera, nevertheless, are at the head of economic growth in the Balearics, a trend unchanged in recent years.

Revenues and spending
New in this year's list of expenditures is a line item for a traffic inspection crew. Additional spending goes to expanding Formentera's lifeguard and rescue service, fire brigade, school of music, childcare services, cleaning crews and administrative staff.

The island currently has zero debt, although financing is envisioned to take on a loan tied to Formentera's development consortium (CFd) through BMN. Revenue growth is projected on the back of increasingly efficient tax checks.

Investment
Focal points of local investment include improvement projects in residential and tourist urban zones, green and sustainable transport solutions, upgrades of out-of-use local heritage sites (a joint venture with the Formentera Council of Entities) and public service improvements. A line item of €2.15m is reserved for improvements in es Pujols and another €100k will go to preservation efforts at Estany des Peix. La Mola's lighthouse will also receive the same €100k sum for use in cultural endeavours. An additional line item earmarks €325k for budgetary investments through the Council of Entities.

Half marathon participants determined today by draw of lots

mitja marato sortidaAccording to the Office of Sport of the Formentera Council (CiF), today, Friday, November 18 at 12.30pm, a draw of lots will be held to determine participants of the Formentera Half Marathon. The drawing will take place at the head office of the CiF under the supervision of a notary public. Registrations ended Tuesday, November 15 at 23.59pm.

A total of 3,067 and 1,514 applications were received for the half marathon and the 8K run respectively. In recent years the pool of would-be runners consistently exceeded the number of spaces available, which is why, explained CiF sports councillor Jordi Vidal, “the drawing was devised as an objective way to determine which individuals obtained the 1,700 and 800 spots available in the half marathon and 8K footrace”.

The lists of potential runners in both races were sent to Dr Javier González Granados, the notary public selected by the Council to supervise the drawing. A computer programme will produce random numbers that will be used to establish a roster of 2,500 participating runners.

Councillor Vidal thanked all the applicants for their interest while underscoring the need to limit entry, citing the importance of “ensuring the races can take place safely and in conditions that allow participants to enjoy the event”. Wishing better luck in future drawings to all the runners who fail to make today's final list, Vidal urged them to visit Formentera during any other part of the off-season, a moment he called “ideal for sport”.

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