The Castro Marim City Council announced a budget for 2021 in the order of 21 million euros, the largest since 2013 and with a focus on the execution of “high-profile projects”.
“The Budget and Major Options of the Castro Marim Municipality Plan is still the result of the first two years of this mandate, with delays in the execution of works, generated by a majority opposition, which came to translate into the mid-term elections of 2019, which they would put an end to two years of gap between planning and political management ”, says the municipality, in a statement.
With a global value of 21,090,995 euros, 11,082,226 euros of current expenses and 10,008,769 euros of capital expenditures are expected.
The year 2020 was marked by the pandemic, "with harmful effects on administrative efficiency and in the social, institutional and economic sectors", which resulted in administrative delays and the crisis of the private sector, forcing many works to stop.
These are the case of the Praia de Altura footbridge, the Odeleite Dam Nautical Activities Center and the Várzea de Odeleite Irrigation Network, structural investments for the development of the municipality, but also with financial commitments under the Portugal 2020 Framework, which it was already two years late due to the constraints with its start.
“Thus, we reached a 2021 with a revenue determined by the demanding technical and political work developed around community funds, but without execution, which now accumulates in obligations and whose guarantee of feasibility depends a lot on the pandemic evolution. The focus is, therefore, on the execution of high-profile projects that now represent high risks of losing many co-financing conditions already guaranteed ”, points out the Câmara de Castro Marim.
At stake are the Várzea de Odeleite Irrigation Network, Cycle Route 125-6 (Espargosa-Praia Verde), the Maravelha and Matos Water Supply Network, the Nautical Activities Center of the Odeleite Dam, the Experimental Center of the Cheese and Cabra de Raça Algarvia, at the Centro Multiusos do Azinhal, the launch of the tender to open the east door of Castro Marim Castle and the work of the Casa do Sal surroundings.
“Very important”, considers the autarchy, will be the execution of Detail Plan nº 1 of Altura, which is in progress and whose urbanization and infrastructure works also imply the requalification of the space surrounding the Escola de Altura.
Another “determining” area in this budget is the collection of solid waste and urban cleaning, for which it is foreseen to open procedures for hiring personnel and other operational equipment, such as vehicles, which represent a very significant budgetary burden.
The reduction in the IMI rate, a decision taken in 2017 due to the majority opposition, withdrew about 2 million euros from the municipality and only now, after the IMI rate has been reset (0.40%), will the financing of works for the Alzheimer's Home of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Castro Marim, the only one dedicated to this dementia in the south of the country, and the substantial increase in support to the Voluntary Firemen of Vila Real de Santo António and Castro Marim, which will allow the work of the Local Unit of Firefighters training in Azinhal village, with approved funding.
In the budget for 2021, the Municipality of Castro Marim still emphasizes a new reality, the change to the protocol with the Verdelago tourism enterprise, whose execution is planned until 2024 and which in return amounts to 3.2 million euros, integrating the requalification of the Rua da Alagoa, in Altura, the construction of the Praia Verde roundabout, the construction of the Multiusos de Altura Pavilion and the improvement and requalification of the east side of Avenida 24 de Junho, in Altura.
As for rural development, the investment is mainly focused on regularizing hundreds of kilometers of agricultural roads, an action that started in 2016, as well as on the continuation of the “big project” that is to bring piped water to all the towns in the interior of the Castro county.
"This is a budget that seeks to safeguard the co-financed works, with the significant delays caused by years of difficult governance, without delegated competences", underlined, in a statement, the Castro Mayor, Francisco Amaral.
The mayor emphasized that there is also a great reinforcement of social action and education measures, inevitable in the face of the pandemic, such as the Mobile Health Unit and the CLDS project «Castro Marim (COM) Vida», of which the municipality is a partner and which develops actions from childhood to combat loneliness in senior groups.