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Formentera increases 2020 funding for Formenterers Solidaris ten-fold

Following the efforts of a government committee, the Consell de Formentera green-lighted €30,000 for the local association Formenterers Solidaris. Made possible by a collaborative agreement between the two parties and happening in coordination with the Formentera Department of Social Welfare, the assistance will go to food packages for vulnerable families and individuals on the island.

Alejandra Ferrer pointed out the figures marked a ten-fold uptick compared to other years (in 2019 funding for the group totalled €3,000), explaining the increase was about “supporting the group’s efforts to extend a helping hand to some of Formentera’s most at-risk—work that is now, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, more important than ever”.

After emergency orders aimed at tackling the coronavirus public health crisis and in light of the significant toll the situation has already taken on the economy, particularly local families, urgent coordinated action to address social needs is crucial.

Formenterers Solidaris is the only locally-based non-profit group devoted to helping Formentera residents facing poverty and other social hardships. Operating chiefly thanks to donations, the group works to connect underprivileged Formentera people and families with food and clothes, namely through the food bank initiative, El Banc d’Aliments. Care packages include essential, non-perishable goods and things like baby formula and nappies.

28 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell unlocks €30K in funding for old persons’ group in La Mola

foto 2020 conveni majors la molaAlejandra Ferrer, chief of the local government, and Jaume Escandell, president of the Associació de Majors del Pilar, put their signatures on a pact granting the seniors’ group temporary use of parts of La Mola’s Casa del Poble and funding for upkeep and operations, including efforts to encourage association- and community-based activities on Formentera in 2020. The island’s deputy chief of government and head of the Department of the Elderly, Ana Juan, was also present at the signing.

Under the deal, the Consell de Formentera pledges €30,000 to support the group’s activities and cover costs. The agreement also means the Associació de Majors promises to host pro bono events at least once a week, except in summertime, oversee access to the Casa del Poble computer lab, and generally enliven the social dynamics of El Pilar de la Mola—often referred to simply as La Mola.

The Consell de Formentera can also use the Casa del Poble for local events, and the Associació de Majors agrees to assist in logistical support and oversee the opening and closing of facilities.

28 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Minute of silence to honour Covid-19 victims

foto 2020 minut de silenciAt 12 noon today and following an announcement by the Consell de Formentera, the island paid tribute to victims of the Covid-19 pandemic with a minute in silence. Standing in solidarity on the steps of the Casa Consistorial were Consell president Alejandra Ferrer, the rest of the local cabinet, members of the opposition and administration staff.

Following an announcement yesterday from the government in Madrid, the country will observe an official ten-day period of mourning from 6 June. During this time, the Consell de Formentera standard will fly at half past in memory of victims.

27 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Local cabinet urges Govern to implement 061 service on island

On behalf of the governing team of the Consell de Formentera, social welfare chief Rafael Ramírez will use the upcoming monthly full-house assembly to float a proposal to push the Balearic health ministry to “implement measures necessary to establish” a base for the 061 emergency response service at the Formentera Hospital. The proposal underlines the need to coordinate the service’s jumpstarting with the reopening of borders, and to separate patients with respiratory symptoms.

In addition to asking for a reactivation of the 061 service, the proposal points to the importance —irrespective of any 061 service changes— of once again reinforcing staff if activity at the hospital returns to 2016 levels.

“More than just summer reinforcements”
Conseller Ramírez said that amid the current public health crisis, “a rethinking of circuits at every level of government is imperative. It’s something that the administration is cognizant of”. But, he continued, “the 061 service isn’t just about giving Formentera a needed summertime boost; we’re talking about enabling our hospital to properly care for patients based on the presence or absence of respiratory symptoms”.

The proposal underscores physical distancing and hand-washing as tried-and-tested Covid-19 protocol, saying they are the reason hospitals are currently seeing differentiated circuits based on whether or not patients display respiratory symptoms. However, certain circumstances —when both a doctor and nurse are dispatched on an ambulance call, for instance— make putting in place such circuits more complicated.

According to Ramírez, “a differentiated 061 service at the hospital would mean the possibility of differentiated circuits if new travel conditions, and the attendant influx of residents and visitors, lead to new Covid-19 cases”.

21 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Full-house assembly backs economic and social assistance, support for tourism sector

foto 2020.v ple telematicIn a first, members of the Consell de Formentera convened today for an urgent, one-off and online plenary session—a gathering rebroadcast on the Consell’s YouTube page and which allowed councilmembers to stick to coronavirus safety and distancing measures. The ordinary assembly will go forward under the same parameters on 29 May.

Attendees heard about the resolutions from the president’s office that have been adopted since public health emergency orders were activated in response to Covid-19, and reviewed announcements from the regional and national Socialist workers’ party (PSIB-PSOE) and Gent per Formentera (GxF) promising to donate, for the duration of the state of alarm, their respective groups’ compensation to the non-profit group Formenterers Solidaris. Spokespeople from each party underscored their hopes that the money be used “so the group can continue its work helping those most in need”.

Economic and social support
Assembly members ratified proposed economic and fiscal measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The proposal succeeded with “yes” votes from the GxF-PSOE cabinet and despite abstention from opposition consellers of Sa Unió.

Economy and tax office chief Bartomeu Escandell asserted, “This public health crisis is also a social and economic one, and spending approved in November will have to be revisited if the Consell is going to tackle it properly”. The conseller affirmed the plan was to “continue supporting economic assistance that will better prepare people, families and owners of local businesses to cope with the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Covid-19”.

“Our first priority in this administration has been families in need”, said Escandell, who pointed out that local government is currently assisting 400 family units and 900 individuals—a tack which he insisted wouldn’t be changing. The Consell is setting aside 20% of its deficit, or €200,000, to this first line of support, in addition to €325,000 which local associations agreed to divert from the 2020 participatory spending package to deal with the crisis that Covid-19 promises to unleash.

Escandell also reviewed the terms of an economic roadmap prepared in concert with the island’s business and productive sector to brace for economic fallout ahead. “Among a number of other measures adopted by the Consell which fall within our jurisdiction, collections ceased on 31 March in an effort to relieve fiscal pressure, and we asked the Tax Agency of the Balearic Islands [ATIB] to extend the payment period, which this year will come to term 1 December 2020”.

Discontinuing collection of public space occupancy tax
The conseller also pointed out the island’s government has for this year suspended collection of the public space occupancy tax paid by shopkeepers and market vendors. Temporary permits for music and entertainment will no longer be restricted to businesses open a minimum number of months of the year. The administration is also in touch with the coastal authority to reduce or eliminate the occupancy tax paid by beach bars and other public domain services.

Support for tourism sector
Cross-party backing was secured by measures to shore up the local tourism industry. Conseller Escandell described them as “agreed upon by our business community and designed with one goal in mind: to minimise the toll that the crisis stands to take on our well-being, our finances and our social fabric”. The changes include pushing back to year end 2020 the deadline on payments from new tourism businesses as well as on fees for recently declared holiday rentals, plus a 12-month extension of existing permits for holiday rentals and an extension till 2022 of the 2015-2019 plan for quality dwellings.

Escandell concluded by highlighting joint efforts under way between the Consell and Govern balear to create a targetted line of support for freelancers.

15 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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