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€150K in renters’ assistance for crisis-hit islanders

foto 2020 ajudes covidThe Formentera Housing Department reports that local families who have seen their finances affected by the Covid-19 crisis can submit applications for renters’ assistance starting today. Posted to the Balearic Job Seekers’ Service website earlier today, the offer outlines €150,000 in assistance covering between 70% and 100% of islanders’ rent payments. Benefits will not last more than three months, and are reserved for islanders whose monthly income was less than €1,200 between April and October.

An applicant’s particular social and professional circumstances will determine the amount of assistance they receive, but the total is capped at €3,240. Money may be used either to pay rent or to make payments on loans for rent between 1 April and 31 October 2020.

Less than €1,200 in income
Deputy premiere and housing councillor Ana Juan highlighted work to ensure that current and previous Covid-19-related aid was received “quickly and by as many islanders as possible”. “We’re here to make sure people get all the help they need”, said Juan, “and the current sum of €150K is key to giving renters a fighting chance”. Juan made assurances that while the current aide package was the Consell’s first to focus specifically on housing, it wouldn’t be the last, and asserted additional funding would depend on how many applications were received.

25 days to apply
To make accessing the money easier and offer answers to related questions, the Consell has created an information hotline that can be reached by dialling 971 32 10 87. Islanders have 25 calendar days from today’s date to submit applications either at the Citizen Information Office (OAC) or Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC). Complete details are available on the Consell de Formentera website, and applications will be processed in the order they are received.

To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following conditions: have been unemployed between 1 April and 31 October or temporarily furloughed; have been forced to work fewer hours as a result of medical treatment received; seen their freelance professional activity interrupted or invoices decrease by 75% or more; be seasonal workers but not in possession of a permanent seasonal contract and be unemployed right now; have been victims of gender violence or in a situation of vulnerability.

Rental agreement and minimum 18 months on Formentera
Eligible islanders will be over 18; have lived on the island at least 18 months; be signatories of a rental agreement and currently domiciled at the address in question plus be able to demonstrate monthly rent and basic costs and utilities (electricity, gas, diesel for heating, water, telecom and community fees) amounting to at least 35% of the family unit’s total income.

24 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

In bid to temper Covid-19 crisis, Consell’s 2021 budget puts focus on families and economic stimulus

foto 2020 presentacio pressupostosEarlier today Consell de Formentera premiere Alejandra Ferrer, deputy premiere Ana Juan and economy and finance councillor Bartomeu Escandell gathered at the seat of local government to make public the details of the administration’s 2021 budget. Total spending tops €30.6 million — a 1.9% increase compared to last year, when it accounted for €30M.

President Ferrer asserted that 2021 would mark a continuation of efforts begun last year to ensure no islander would be left behind. “We’ll continue working to give families uninterrupted access to Consell services like nurseries, the music school and fitness centre”, said Ferrer, “plus we’ll be giving tax rebates to small-business owners in need and keep strengthening the social safety net for crisis-hit islanders, such as with food vouchers and, moving forward, renter’s assistance”. Ferrer insisted that such support wouldn’t require changing Formentera’s guiding vision. “We intend to move ahead with economic stimulus driven by substantial investments in infrastructure and towns”, she said, “and we certainly won’t renege on our long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability”.

Councillor Juan, for her part, tied legislative successes in 2020 to team work between representatives of PSOE and Gent per Formentera, something she said was key to “getting spending into line with islanders’ pandemic-era needs and requests, and delivering assistance to working islanders, renters and vulnerable segments of the population”. “The 2021 budget will further work to maintain and increase such services”, she said.

Social safety net and help for businesses
The economy and finance councillor underlined key features of the budget like increases in overall spending and a redirecting of resources toward keeping businesses open and supporting families and local farming. Escandell said money for the latter would approach €740,000 —a 55% increase compared to 2019— and pointed to hikes in investment and current transfers, drops in current income from the region and the urban estate tax (IBI) and a continuation of the administration’s commitment to zero bank debt.

Investment criteria
Escandell gave an overview of investment criteria projected to hold steady in 2021, starting with the island’s commitment to sustainability and efforts to recover natural spaces like S’Estany des Peix and enhance sustainable mobility and waste management.

Improvements will continue in towns as well, including phase two of upgrades in Es Pujols; work on Avinguda Miramar and on roads granting access to the Sant Ferran school and old persons’ home; creation of the skate and fitness park in Sant Francesc.

Heritage preservation constitutes another important feature of the 2021 budget —plans are currently in place to refurbish the Can Ramon home and build a cultural centre at the current site of the school in Sant Ferran— as does fomenting participation with the Consell d’Entitats Participatory Spending initiative.

A standout feature of the plan is its commitment to seniors, youth and children, with the island’s first old persons’ home, the Sant Ferran nursery, the skate and fitness park and the children’s play area in Sant Ferran all due to open.

23 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera requests funding for upgrades in Es Pujols

The Consell de Formentera president’s office reports it has called on the regional government to help finance upgrades in holidaymakers’ hub Es Pujols. In correspondence, Consell president Alejandra Ferrer reminded Francina Armengol of support that the Balearic premiere and Spanish tourism ministry pledged to a project “to cement Formentera’s status as a tourist destination”.

Ferrer reminded Armengol of a presentation that the ministry, local island councils and the Balearic government gave before crowds at last year’s World Travel Market in London where details were made public about assorted tourism investment projects in the Balearics. “Formentera was the only island in the region to not receive funding at the time”, pointed out the Consell president, “and both the minister and Armengol pledged to budget for it in 2020.”

In the letter, President Ferrer also referenced the June 2019 adoption by the Spanish Tourism Ministry Secretary of State’s Sectoral Committee of a “Programme of Plans for Sustainable Tourist Destinations”. At the time, the Consell de Formentera proposed making Es Pujols the subject of a sustainability-driven image enhancement with water and waste management upgrades and plans to make the town universally accessible.

The project, which sought to transform “pioneer tourist destinations” to maintain their charm and competitiveness, failed to win the ministry’s backing.

New plea
On 30 October, the Balearic premiere announced details of a €100M deal with the Spanish Ministry of Tourism to invest in regenerating and improving tourism in the region from 2021 to 2023. “This funding is important our island”, said Ferrer, “and we wish to use it for phase two of the Es Pujols improvements project.”

President Ferrer asked for a promise from Armengol that Formentera would be given the necessary funding to execute the “crucial economic and tourism recovery project”.

16 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Lifeguard and rescue service crowns summer 2020 season

foto 2020 equip socorristesThe Formentera Department of Interior reports that Saturday 31 October will mark the end of lifeguard and rescue service for summer 2020. This season lifeguards logged 432 cases of general assistance, most often informing beachgoers of conditions at sea, and reported 589 health-related incidents like jellyfish stings and first aid for injuries. Thirty-six individuals required rescue.

The Consell has purchased a €27,000 van-pickup combo for the lifeguard and rescue crew.

30 October 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Winter hours start Sunday 1 November for metred parking

foto 2020 zona blavaThe Formentera Department of Mobility reports that from Sunday 1 November, winter hours will take effect for metred “blue zone” parking in La Savina, Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran, while Es Pujols will hold off on reactivating the scheme until summer. Winter hours apply 9.00am to 2.00pm and 4.00pm to 8.00pm Monday to Saturday until 1 May. Parking is free on Sundays and bank holidays.

Vehicles in winter can stay parked in a zona blava spot for up to three consecutive days — up from just one day in summertime. For their part, drivers who park in green zone spaces, which are restricted to authorised vehicles and accredited motorists La Savina, can leave their vehicle parked for up to 15 days — a limit that remains the same in summer and winter.

Renewals in December
The mobility office reminds islanders that motorists who renewed a metred parking authorisation in March amid the invocation of emergency orders will see their permit expire in late December. Drivers accredited to park in blue zone spaces must renew their authorisation at year’s end, either by appointment at the OAC or on the OVAC.

30 October 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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