By Cathy Elelman • 19 March 2020 • 19:06
ACTION: The Mayor said the council wants to adopt policies aimed at easing the impact of the crisis on the local economy.
CREDIT: Ayuntamiento de Huercal-Overa
HUERCAL-OVERA council is making readjustments to the municipal budget it had planned to take to a plenary meeting this month with a view to trying to alleviate the financial hit of the coronavirus crisis on local businesses.
“The government team is aware that at this time the priority is to safeguard public health and strictly comply with the prevention measures to minimise the spread of the virus”, explained Huercal-Overa Mayor Francisca Lourdes Fernandez.
At the same time, while acknowledging that local authorities have what the council referred to as “limited margin for manoeuvre”, the Mayor maintained “we have to activate policies which help to ease the negative effects this crisis is having on the local economy, given that there are many businesses which have been forced to close due to this situation of uncertainty which we don’t know how long will last.”
Fernandez said the council is weighing up the possibility of including a specific section in the budget of “economic assistance and incentives for local traders, for small businesses and for the self-employed to make it easier to overcome this crisis, supporting the numerous families there are behind these businesses.”
In addition, the Finance councillor is studying the relaxation of the fiscal bylaw on occupying a public way and other municipal taxes to boost the reactivation of the local economy.
As an immediate step, the council has ordered the beginning of the process of suspending direct debits and periodic payments of the municipal taxes which are the administration’s responsibility, on sports and weekly market payments, and the return of payments made for municipal sports schools, workshops, public way occupation and other taxes corresponding to the period in which the state of alarm is in force.
The local authority’s Economy and Trade department is meanwhile working on drawing up new lines of support and incentives for the businesses affected by the health crisis, again within the scope of municipal responsibility. The council said the measures have to be complementary to those launched by the Andalucia and Spanish governments.
The readjustment of the municipal budget will also affect the area of Social Services, with a likely increase in the section for support programmes for the most vulnerable families and groups and a greater contribution for new community social promotion and prevention programmes aimed at creating equal opportunities and social cohesion.
The Mayor repeated her gratitude to municipal residents for acting responsibly and for their solidarity at these difficult times. She said her administration had to be up to dealing with the exceptional circumstances, not only at this critical period, during which local emergency plan measures have been activated, but in planning effective economic and social support and reactivation actions which benefit municipal families and businesses in the medium and long-term.
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Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.
Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.
Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.
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