Staff reporter
SPOKESMAN for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) on Palma's city council, Antoni Roig, described as “immoral” water rate increases approved by Emaya, the municipal water and rubbish collection company. He called for a reform in local government budgetary planning so that part of the profits of the company could be allocated to subsidising free school text books. Given that keeping Palma clean is one of the most serious problems facing the city, Roig said it was “regrettable” that the council could raise water and drainag rates instead of putting forward fresh ideas for cleaning projects. The PSOE councillor also pointed to the fact that Emaya has made unnecessary moves to purchase desalinated water.
The cubic metres they have budgeted for are nearly double the amount required.
Roig said that residents are paying a high price for their water, and that even though the municipal supply company has claimed that the increase in tariffs is to cover costs, Emaya has earned some three million euros in profits The Socialist spokesman confirmed that the PSOE will present a motion for four reforms to be made, the first of which demands that part of Emaya's profits go to subsidising text books for the 2004-2005 school year. The Opposition group will also propose that taxes on empty properties are raised by 50 percent in order to create funds for helping people buy their first home. The Majorcan Socialist/Nationalist party (PSM) at Palma city council also criticised the water rates for 2004, saying that the fixed costs that a large family will have to pay, are more than the pro rata equivalent for hotel establishments. The nationalists considered it “deceitful” that the mayor, Catalina Cirer, had previously declared that water tariffs would be maintained at the same level, or at least fairly priced in relation to the amount of resource used.


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